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Caring, compassionate and responsive Presentation to Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled.

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Presentation on theme: "Caring, compassionate and responsive Presentation to Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled."— Presentation transcript:

1 Caring, compassionate and responsive Presentation to Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled persons Presentation 1 AUGUST 2008

2 DHA’S MANDATE ON REFUGEE CHILDREN, DISABLED REFUGEES Caring, compassionate and responsive DHA has a Directorate which has the mandate to : –Efficiently and effectively manage asylum seeker services –Advise on refugee policy matters –Process refugee enabling documents such as ID and UNCTD –Monitor the functioning of Asylum Seeker Offices –Liaise with stakeholders such as UNHCR, NGOs and Government Departments –Serve on Tripartite Commission on the Repatriation of Refugees

3 ASYLUM DETERMINATION MANDATE Caring, compassionate and responsive ASYLUM SEEKER RECEPTION OFFICES Section 8 of the Refugee Act, provides that the Director General may establish Refugee Reception Offices. Currently there are five Asylum Seeker Reception Offices and 1 satellite office i.e. –Cape Town, –Durban, –Johannesburg, –Pretoria, –Port Elizabeth. –Musina As stipulated in the 1998 Refugee Act, Refugee Reception Offices' core purpose is to: –Receive asylum seekers and conduct eligibility interviews –Execute adjudications processes and determine status of asylum seekers –Assist recognized refugees to apply for refugee ID and Travel documents.

4 LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK Since the dispensation of new era of democracy, South Africa as a country has signed and ratified numerous conventions related to Refugee matters:  1951 UN Convention Related to the Status of Refugees  1967 UN Protocol and  1969 OAU Conventions Governing the specific aspects of Refugee problems in Africa.  Refugees Act, 1998 which embraces the principle of non- Refoulment The legal and legislative framework of the Unit also derives from:  The Constitution of the RSA of 1996  Convention on the Rights of the Child  Bill of Rights Caring, compassionate and responsive

5 AN ASYLUM SEEKER AND A REFUGEE.. Caring, compassionate and responsive Who is an Asylum seeker? An asylum seeker is a person who applies for recognition as a refugee,

6 AN ASYLUM SEEKER AND A REFUGEE Caring, compassionate and responsive Who is a refugee A refugee is defined in terms of the above UN and OAU Conventions and Refugee Act to mean anyone who fled their countries of origin for reason of a well-founded fear of being persecuted on the basis of their race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves to the protection of their countries; or Owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or armed conflict, they are forced to leave their countries in order to seek refuge elsewhere. For purposes of our laws in the Republic, one has to satisfy the above criteria in order to be recognized as a refugee in the country. Immediately when one is recognized as such, certain rights and responsibilities accrue to that individual

7 Cont Caring, compassionate and responsive Formal written recognition for a renewable period of two years A Refugee enjoys full legal protection, which includes rights set out in Chapter 2 of the constitution and the right to remain in the Republic according to the provisions of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998; is entitled to apply for an immigration permit in terms of the Immigration Act 19 of 2004, after five years of continuous residence in the Republic from the date on which she/he was granted asylum, if the standing committee certifies that she/he will remain a refugee indefinitely; is entitled to an Identity Document referred to in section 30 of Refugees Act; is entitled to a South African travel document on application as contemplated in section 31 of Refugees Act; is entitled to seek employment; and is entitled to the same basic health services and basic primary education which the inhabitants of the Republic receive from time to time must be treated with dignity

8 Cont Caring, compassionate and responsive Formal written recognition for a renewable period of two years An Asylum Seeker has: the right to legal protection by the state the right to access or consult with counsel during the application process; at no expense to the government. the right to receive a fair and impartial interview and adjudication on her/his matter the right to be granted an opportunity to explain their asylum claims/ discrepancies between application and testimony at the end of the interview conducted by the RSDO, the asylum seeker has the right to be informed that she or he must return after 14 days to receive the outcome of the decision A right to work and study

9 TURNAROUND ACHIEVEMENTS TO IMPROVE SERVICES Caring, compassionate and responsive As it stands, milestones have been achieved in less than a year since the start of the turnaround project. 191 officials have been appointed and trained. 33 Managers of the Asylum Seeker Offices have been appointed at Director level for the big centres which are Marabastad, Cape Town and Johannesburg. The small centres have managers at Deputy Director Level. The new integrated refugee system – Refugee and Deportation system (RaD) – has been rolled out at all five centres This system is a biometric system and it will ensure that the asylum seekers are speedily processed and those who abuse the system are detected early.

10 TURNAROUND ACHIEVEMENTS TO IMPROVE SERVICES Caring, compassionate and responsive Position JHBPTACape TownDurbanPE CCCCC RRC Mgr (L)111-- RRC Mgr (S)---11 Ops Mgr1111- Admin. Mgr01101 RSDO Mgr42221 RSDO RRO Mgr32210 RRO Total

11 SERVICES PROVIDED TO CHILDREN AND DISABLED PEOPLE... Caring, compassionate and responsive ACCESSIBLE AND CHILD FRIENDLY OFFICES Crown Mines Refurbishment started, Refugee Affairs is investigating the possibility of shortening the construction period Marabastad Refurbishment planned in way to minimize impact on service delivery for Asylum Affairs and inspectorate Durban Final floor plans for refurbishment approved by business Cape Town Plan in place to close Barrack Str and integrate to Nyanga PE Office moved to better site

12 SERVICES PROVIDED TO CHILDREN AND DISABLED PEOPLE …. Caring, compassionate and responsive The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that all decisions relating to the treatment of refugee and asylum- seeking children should be guided by the following three principles: the best interest of the child non-discrimination participation In terms of section 27 of the Refugees Act, refugee children are also entitled to free basic education and health services at the same rate as South African citizens. Refugees who are disabled receive disability grant from the state social security. The unaccompanied minors who are refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to receive a foster care grant through the foster homes that are providing a safe place for such children. Refugee Children born in RSA are entitled to the child certificate, those born outside the RSA are issued with Refugee ID.

13 Caring, compassionate and responsive At Asylum Determination Offices, unaccompanied minors are referred to the Children’s Court for appointing Legal Guardianship DHA is assisted by institutions like Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), Legal Resource Centre, etc. In addition, women and children are given special preference to access services at ADO.  THE ROLE OF HOME AFFAIRS IS TO DOCUMENT ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS SERVICES OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES PROVIDED TO CHILDREN

14 Caring, compassionate and responsive Thank You.


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