FROM : THE GROUP FOR THE DEFENSE OF REFUGEE RIGHTS
Reg. N0. 097-701-NPO
TO : – HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER
– THE UNHCR FIELD OFFICE, WESTERN CAPE
CC : – THE MAYOR OF CAPE TOWN
Today Thursday 20 June 2013, world refugee day, which day all refugees suppose to celebrate. But for this occasion, members of the committee management of the Group for the Defense of Refugee Rights(G.D.R),as well as other refugees in the western cape choose this day to remember their struggling because,since 1994,the non nationals have been victims of xenophobic attacks during the operation bulelekhaya,initiated by the south Africa citizens. Once again in 1998,the non nationals have been under the attack on the train between Irene-Pretoria. The management committee of the Group for the Defense of Refugee Rights, would like to remind the South African government as well as the unhcr branch cape town that, the Group did organized the first march against refugee rights violations on day 20 June 2007, world refugee day .And in 2008, refugees all over In south Africa was victims of xenophobic attacks,our brothers and sisters refugees was killed. I think in1998,that is the year the south Africa government did sign the 1951,Geneva convention relating to the status of refugees as well as its AU, protocoles. It is written in the Geneva Convention, all the countries which sign this convention agree to the protection of refugees. It is very difficult for refugees to forget their suffering, because they are still living the similar unfair conditions imposed to them by the South Africa government and the unhcr, branch Cape Town. Refugees in south Africa, specially here in the western cape are deeply disappointed because they are always victims of refugee rights violations by the department of home affairs and the unhcr cape town branch. Those two institutions are not doing enough to protect refugees, according to the 1951, Geneva Convention, relating to the refugee status. They are not managing to put in place some strategies to avoid refugees rights violations which are human violations in the country.Art.14: universal declaration of human rights, says: every one have got right to seek asylum to another country, and enjoy it. But refugees in South Africa are not enjoying their stay in the country. The unhcr branch Cape Town together with the home affairs department, which is representing the South African government, are not doing enough to improve refugees lives in terms of documentation.
Today 20June 2013, World refugees day, which is our day, refugees in Western cape, members of Group for the Defense of Refugee Rights decide to break the silence and raise loudly their concerns because enough is enough. Refugees in Western Cape need the Home Affairs Department and the UNHCR branch Cape Town to respond to their demands as follow:
- 1. The last meeting held by the chief Director of the asylum seeker management with the UNHCR field office in cape town at Hayikaya lodge, Mrs. LINDILE-NkGASI,chief Director of asylum seekeer management said: the refugees Identity document is no longer going to be a maroon color, it’s going to be on green color as well as the South African ID, But from that time 2010 till today, refugees still using a maroon ID, we will like to know how far the Department of Home Affairs is to the project.
- 2. Asylum seekers or refugees who applied to other office than cape, they cannot renew their paper here in Cape Town WHY? This is violation of refugee’s rights, because here the Home Affairs Department is deniding to refugees their Freedom of movement. The UNHCR is not standing against this wrong doing by the Department of Home Affairs.
- 3. Refugees Status has been renewing for 4 years but now the Home Affairs Department is extending the refugees status only for one year, six months, three months even one month. We would like to ask today WHY?
This is affecting refugees because every time the Bank account is frozen because of the expired paper, other refugees are losing their Jobs because their boss cannot put money to their account, while the bank account is frozen. Refugee who is affected to this problem cannot get access to his money and cannot paid rent. Because of that refugee face eviction by the landlord. To reactivated the bank account, refugee need to go and renew his or her paper and wait the Home Affairs to confirm with the bank which is taking long, that is why the banks refuse now to open the new bank account for the refugees.
- 4. It’s written in the Asylum seeker paper and refugee status: refugees have got right to Work and Study but those rights are limited only because only few refugees are working, number of them are not working. The easy Job refugees can get is in the Security Industry, but the PSIRA Department don’t give anymore S.O.B (Security Officer Board) number a refugee after she or he had completed the security courses. She or he can apply to get the PSIRA number, S.O.B, which allows someone to work as security guard in South Africa. The PSIRA department stops giving S.O.B number to refugees at 2001 WHY? That is also refugee’s rights violation. The UNHCR field office here in Cape Town is aware of that, because the Management of the G.D.R did inform already during a meeting the UNHCR field office chief Mr. PATRICK MALE KAWUMA, but nothing has done since. What is the UNHCR field office in Cape Town are doing? Mr.Patrick always saying: we must not abuse the hospitality South Africa is offering to the refugees. We really don’t know which kind of hospitality Mr. Patrick is talking about? While refugees are victims of human rights violations in South Africa everywhere they are.
- 5. A lot of irregularities at Home Affairs offices:
- Missing files in the office
- Poor service delivery by the Home Affairs officials including the security guards who abusing refugees and sometimes accepting bribery.
- Refugee who apply for the ID, have to wait years and years, sometimes it comes out already expired.
- 6. The South Africa Government failed to Protect refugees:
- The Home Affairs Department cannot renew refugee Paper at the right time.
- Refugees are reporting to Home Affairs every day but they are not even been attended the same day.
- They are giving them the Appointment date by the home officials, they writing with a Pen at the back of original refugee’s paper WHY?
- 7. The Home Affairs Department refuse to join refugee Couple which one are married officially WHY?
- 8. The birth certificate of the refugee child is not recognized by the Department of Education the child cannot attend school WHY?
- 9. Refugee child cannot write metric exams he or she must have a passport or study permit, but refugees have got right to studie, Why this kind of Discrimination and this Violation of the refugees children rights?
- 10. Refugees booked for Appeal Hearing have to wait years and years but sometimes the hearing never took place, the Home Affairs Department still renewing the Paper. Why?
But every day the office is open for the refugee; what the home affairs officials and the standing committee officials are doing in there?
- 11. The High Court of Cape Town often the natter between Home Affairs and Refugee Stakeholders in the Western Cape, judge DAVIS concluded that: The Home Affairs must reopen the refugee reception in cape town, but till now nothing happened the new comers still waiting to regularize their stay in the country. Why it taking long? The closure of Maitland of Refugee reception took only one month to make it happened.
12. Refugee are not welcome in south Africa,the government of south Africa knows maybe what its benifts by hosting refuges here in the country.
13. Asylum seeker in south Africa have to wait after years and years his or her asylum claim to be finilised, so that he or she can get the refugee status.Number of them are still have asylum permit for more than 10 years Why?And the unhcr cape town branch never stand at the refugee side to try and find a solution to this issue of documentation.
14. Refugees in the western cape did notice that;Mr Patrick Male Kawuma,the chief of field office of the unhcr,here in cape town never be in the field to touch and see which kind of problems refugees are facing in south Africa.If maybe is in the field only to help those refugees he would like to help the way he want to.
15.The UNHCR,field office in cape town is doing interviews according to the global resettlement 2013,but this office is giving priority to the refugees from:Uganda,Somalia,Burundi and Rwanda .Only few Congolese refugees have been interviewed.And they are not lucky to be qualified because of the discrimation refugees from Dr.congo are victim,discrimination caused by Mr. Patrick the head of the field office of the unhcr,branch cape town,do not like refugees from the Democratic republic of Congo,specially those who come from Kinshasa.
16. According to our investigation,we did notice that: the unhcr cape town branch is using refugees from;Burundi,Uganda and Rwanda during the interviews as a Congolese refugees so that they can benefit from the resettlement programme for this year 2013.That is why we are saying:congolese refugees are victims of discrimination by the unhcr,cape town branch.
17. Refugees from DR.Congo, widows are not assisted by the UNHCR, branch cape town, after their Husbands has been Killed here by the South African Citizens; we have got some proof in News papers. They have been reporting to the UNHCR branch Cape town office and to its partners Cape town refuge centre, Aresta,in vain,they never been help.
18. The Government of South Africa failed to build Friendship with other African Foreigners who are living in the Country according to the South African Charter. The Government and the UNHCR do not manage to inform the South African Citizens about who is a Refugee? Why refugee is here in the Country? What is his contribution to the Economy of the Country? That is why Refugees are Victims of xenophobic Attacks every where they are living.
19. The quasi majority of the refugees from Somalia and other refugees from other country than Dr.Congo, are getting hundred percent help from the unhcr, cape town branch and its partners; they are helping them to start small business to improve their lives. But Congolese refugees are not welcome to get help like others.
20. Refugees today want to know: who is refugee in south Africa, in need of protection according to the role of unhcr, only Somalian refugees?and others?what about Congolese refugees?
21. Refugees in the western cape and all members of the Group for the Defense of Refugee Rights (G.D.R), need answers and clarification to all the issues raised in this memorandum within 14 days or they will intensify their actions by protesting in front of the unhcr office in cape town until they get answers to the memorandum according to the refugees rights.
We would like to inform once again the government of south africa and the unhcr,branch cape town,the Group for the Defense of Refugee rights(G.D.R),will not stop fighting for the rights of refugees in south Africa,and will not stop to speak out about refugee rights violations in south Africa,by informing also the international community.
Thank you for your understanding.
Group for the Defense of Refugee Rights (G.D.R)
Mr.Gil Tshitamba Alex, chairperson.
Mr. ANDRE NTUMBA TSHIBANGU,p.relations manager.
Mr.FRANCIS MISSIMBU, General Secretary
Mr.IBAYA KASAI BIENVENU, Social Dev.Assit.Manager.
Mr.GiGHOL BISSAFIO, Investigation unit Manager.
Mrs.LUCIE MISSIMBU,Social counselor
Mrs. RACHEL RHODE CHRISTINA, Social counselor
Mrs. MISENGA MITUNDA,Social counselor
Mrs. MBOTO DEDE BANAKAY,Social counselor