On International Migrants Day, CoRMSA celebrates the contributions that asylum seekers, refugees and migrants continue to make to the socio-economic life of South Africa. We call on South Africa and all UN state parties to honour the commitments they made earlier this year in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which they “recognize the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development”.
However this year in particular we mourn the deaths of those that have been victims of xenophobic violence and perilous journeys around the world. The SDGs further commit member states to “cooperate internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants regardless of migration status, of refugees and of displaced persons. Such cooperation should also strengthen the resilience of communities hosting refugees, particularly in developing countries.”
CoRMSA recommits to holding government accountable to its obligations, and to working with host and migrant communities so that 2016 is a year of solidarity and common purpose as we collectively mobilise for equal rights and justice for all!
For more information contact: Roshan Dadoo, Director, CoRMSA: 082 816 2799
10 December 2015, In observing the International Human Rights Day, Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) in partnership with the City Of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality (Migration Unit), ProBono.org and Legal Aid South Africa (Alexandra Office) embarked on an outdoor interactive and human rights educational information sharing activity with the actual communities in Diepsloot Township. The activity took place at the Diepsloot Mall. This activity was for organisations to directly interact with beneficiaries in their communities on issues relating to the protection and access to human rights holistically. There two information stall at the mall both filled with educational information materials. Over 300 South African Constitutions together other educational information materials such as access to health care, education and social grants, HIV/AIDS, gender based violence etc were distributed to over 300 community members who visited our stalls. Majority of community members who visited our two stalls informed us that it the first time in their lives to have a copy of the constitution in their hands. They also shared with us that having copy of the constitution in their possession will help them and their families to read and understand their rights and limitations and how other spheres of government operate including the chapter institutions. What was also appealing was that out of over 300 people who visited our stall majority of those were young generation and women. This shows a greater willingness from the youth and women to be empowered and capacitated about their rights. This kind of an activity should be carried to other townships and rural areas in the republic. The South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development should take the constitution to the people as there is a great need. By so doing, the South African Constitution will become their human rights reference booklet.
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. Every year this day has a theme and this year’s theme is “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary. The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.
For more information visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2014/Pages/HRD2014.aspx
“Access to Human Rights Promotes Social Cohesion”.
The international Human Rights Day is observed on 10 December every year. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed Resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. Although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights.
Every year this day have a special theme and this year‘s global theme is “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always”. The Forced Migration Working Group (FMWG), has decided to adopt this global theme as it reflects and talk to the meaning of human rights for all. This theme aims to promote and it revolves around right to freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, which support the International Bill of Human Rights. The FMWG believes that everyone, regardless of their nationality, race, ethnic group, religion, language etc. has the rights to life and dignity.
Furthermore, the FMWG strongly believes that access to human rights by all without prejudices will promote social cohesion in communities divided by hatred, xenophobia, intolerances and discrimination based on nationality status or colour. On this day, the FMWG encourages all the country governments and communities to embrace and respect the human rights for all because discrimination based on nationalities constitutes a serious violation of human rights. Every state has the primary duty to protect everyone who lives in it whether they are refugees, asylum seekers, migrants or citizens.
This year South Africa, witnessed another outbreak of xenophobic attacks to the foreign nationals. These attacks posed a serious human rights violation leading to fatalities and limitation to the rights to freedom of movement. Therefore, the FMWG calls for upon the South African government to show greater political will in protecting the lives and livelihoods of all who live in the country- locals or foreign nationals without prejudice or discrimination. The FMWG urges the South African government to use this day to reaffirm its constitutional rights and obligation for all.
The FMWG further calls upon civil society organisations in South Africa and the rest of the world to continue to play a crucial role in protecting and promoting human rights, and allowing citizens to hold their governments accountable. In many countries overshadowed by violation of human rights the acts of crime against humanity, civil society organisations can play a very critical role of being a catalyst between government and citizens through educating community members about their human rights and advising the government about the danger of and consequences of human rights violation. This will make it easier for both the government and citizens to access and exercise their rights and obligation and prevent further violation of human rights.
The FMWG also calls upon the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to continuously monitor violations of human rights in the Republic. We strongly believe that the Commission is an important human rights legal instrument in South Africa and it must be given high priority by the
government. The FMWG further urges the SAHRC to remain an independent body and continue with its mandate to investigate human rights abuses, monitor the situation of human rights violations in the country and make progressive and realistic recommendations to the government of South Africa. SAHRC should advocate and lobby for the publishing of the drafted Hate Crime legislation. Publication of this law will make it easier to criminalise all hate crimes including xenophobia and will foster tolerance and social cohesion in communities.
The Forced Migration Working Group (FMWG) is a coalition of organisations that work to promote and protect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in South Africa with the main focus in Gauteng under the Secretariat of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA).
FMWG member organisations: African Migrants Solidarity (AMIS), Amnesty International South Africa, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Centre Rights, Law and Love, Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, Coordinating Body of Refugee and Migrant Communities, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Jesuit Refugee Service, Pastoral Care for Refugees and Migrants, Refugee Ministries Centre, Refugee Welfare, Sonke Gender Justice Network, University of the Witwatersrand Law Clinic, Voice of Wrongfully Imprisoned.
For more information contact:
Mr. Thifulufheli Sinthumule Office 011 403 7560/078 287 1485 or Mr. Samson Ogunyemi on 0736975229.