Category Archive Uncategorized

04 February – 10 February 2019

This week CoRMSA and its member organisations are organising and apart of various activities and events in forwarding our mandate to promote and protect the human rights of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.

06 January 2019

Abigail Dawson will be attending the launch of the Hub Cities initiative in Southern Africa a relocation programme for human rights defenders at risk on the African continent. The meeting will bring together civil society organisations and academic actors to design an action plan for the implementation of the initiative in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.

08 January 2019

Muluti Phiri will be attending the  Save The Children provincial steering committee meeting on unaccompanied and separated migrant children at the Department of Social Development offices in Pretoria.

09 February 2019

CoRMSA will be hosting a workshop for Children in Migration at  Johannesburg Child Welfare Office at Drill Hall. This workshop will focus on access to documentation and statelessness for children.  Children will be developing their own campaigns to make their voices heard in our advocacy efforts. This workshop will be followed by a film screening with the children and their parents.

Whats Happening This Week?

28th January- 3rd February 2019

This week CoRMSA and its member organisations are organizing and apart of various activities and events in forwarding our mandate to promote and protect the human rights of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.

28th January 2019

The CoRMSA team will be doing a site visit to the Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Marabastad Pretoria. This visit will allow further monitoring and analysis of the experiences of service users. Further intervention and advocacy will be planned from this visit.

29th January 2018

Thifulufheli Sinthumule and Abigail Dawson will be attending a Public Dialogue hosted by the Southern African Liaison Office in Pretoria. The dialogue is a multi-stakeholder Dialogue on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Deadlines for submissions to the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill are on the 15th February 2019. CoRMSA will be drafting and finalising our submissions in the coming weeks.

1st February 2018

Abigail Dawson and Muluti Phiri will be attending a training hosted by Lawyers For Human Rights on legal identity and statelessness at their office in Braamfontein.

Press Statement: International Migrants Day

Press Release:

For Immediate release:                                                                                                                            18 December 2018

#WithDignity: CoRMSA celebrates the dignity and achievement of migrants in South Africa.

December 18th marks International Migrants Day. This day is  celebrated annually since 2000 in commemorating the adoption of the international convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families in 1990. The theme for this years (2018) International Migrants Day is ‘Migration with Dignity’ #WithDignity.

The UN proclamation of the International Migrants’ Day was an important step in offering a rallying point for everyone across the world who is concerned with the protection of migrants.  UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations are encouraged to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure their protection.

Migration is a growing phenomenon and it could make a positive contribution to development both in the countries of origin and destination provided it is supported by the right policies.  Therefore,  respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all migrants is essential to  realise the benefits of international migration. Migrants do not only bring their suitcases, they contribute to economic growth and human development; they enrich societies through cultural diversity, knowledge and cultural exchange. This evidently shows that with the right policies in place, South Africa could benefit significantly from a diversity of migrants within its borders.

While migration is envisaged to bring a positive and empowering experience for both migrants and receiving countries, many migrants  endure human rights violations, xenophobia, and exploitation. The International Migrants Day reminds us of the importance of all stakeholders and advocates to promote and protect the fundamental rights of all persons, regardless of their migration status, nationality, race, gender, ethnicity or documentation status, as guaranteed by the international law.

The commemoration of International Migrants Day symbolises the  recognition of migrants’ contributions to the development and well-being of countries globally, including South Africa.  This day provides an opportunity  to raise awareness of migrants’ basic human rights, to demand an end to all forms of abuse and violence against migrants and their families and to hold the South African government accountable in  upholding  the rights of  refugees,migrants and asylum seekers in the country.

This International Migrants Day, The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) celebrates and acknowledges the positive social, cultural and economic contributions that refugees, migrants and asylum seekers make  to South Africa.   South Africa is marred by a history and  continuous  xenophobic rhetoric and violence.   In light of this,  CoRMSA stands alongside refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in promoting and protecting their rights so they can  live a safe and fulfilling life contributing to South African communities.

CoRMSA wishes that this day  provides a platform for all stakeholders to  advocate for reconciliation and unity in diversity that would lead to harmonious coexistence between migrants and local hosting communities.

For more information contact: Abigail Dawson- Communicatios and Media Officer

Email: communications@cormsa.org.za Cell: 074 851 5683

10th-16th December 2018

This week CoRMSA and its member organisations are organizing and apart of various activities and events in forwarding our mandate to promote and protect the human rights of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.

10th December

  • 10th of December is International Human Rights Day. Read CoRMSA Press Statement here.
  • The Jesuit Institute South Africa invites you to a documentary film screening and expert panel discussionA Jesuit Institute documentary film — DENIED ACCESS Stories of Forced Migrants in South AfricaPanelists Include;Lusungu Kanyama Phiri – Lawyers for Human Rights, Faith Chirinda-Future Families, Rampe Hlobo-SJ  Global Ignatian Advocacy NetworkFrancis Anyanzu SJ | Migration Studies Research Student – WITS

    RSVP admin@jesuitinstitute.org.za by 6 December 2018.For more information see the Facebook event here

  • The Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration PDF document takes place in Marrakech, Morocco on the 10th and 11th of December, 2018. Watch this video on how migrant right  organisations can use the global compact on migration. Read our blog post here

13 December 2018

CoRMSA in partnership with The City of Joburg is commemorating International Migrants Day by hosting a event titled ‘Celebrating Johannesburgs Migration Story’. This event brings together academics, activists, local and migrants community members to acknowledge and celebrate the social and economic contributions that migration has had to Johannesburg City. Read the concept note and follow our social media pages for updates on the day.

 

 

 

Press Statement: International Human Rights Day

For immediate release:

10 December 2018

 

‘The path to dignity knows no borders’

 

International Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of December to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year marks the 70thanniversary of a landmark document which declares the inalienable and inherent rights of all humans regardless of race, class, gender, sex, ethnicity, nationality, language, political affiliation or documentation status.

Despite these advances in progressive and regulatory principles refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa and across the world are marginalised and excluded from a safe and fulfilling life in their host country. This ranges from the denial of access to basic services to abuse by state officials in various ways. Many refugees and migrants face challenges in getting their documents processed on time and this effectively renders refugees and asylum seekers undocumented. Refugees, migrants and asylum seekers face social and institutionalized xenophobia in their everyday lives and are often victim to various other forms of harassment, violence and victimization.

It is fitting that on this day a diverse group of global leaders will be meeting in Marrakech, Morocco to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This document in grounded in values of non-discrimination and human rights. It recognises the need for co-opertation between states and to priortise the benefits of migration while recognising the challenges and diffculties for all those in countries of orgin, transit and host.

In additon to the above mentioned abuses, currently in South Africa the rights of those held in immigration detention are violated on a regular basis with many being held in detention far longer than the requisite number of days in unlawful conditions.

In light of this, CoRMSA would like to take a stand on this day and declare that refugee, migrant and asylum seekers right are human rights too. On this day CoRMSA acknowledges that the path to dignity knows no borders.CoRMSA is calling for South African leaders to take seriously the principles laid out in the Global Compact to be adopted today and in so doing declaring the human rights of all of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers living in South Africa as equal to all South Africans.  Former UN General Secretary  Ban ki-Moon in a report addressing migration stated: ‘Human beings have moved from place to place across the millennia, by choice and under duress, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Only by upholding our duty to protect those fleeing persecution and violence, and by embracing the opportunities that refugees and migrants offer to their new societies, will we be able to achieve a more prosperous and fairer future for all’.CoRMSA joins the rest of the world and global leaders today in recognising the inherent rights of all refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. CoRMSA today calls for the adoption and pursuit of progressive regulations for cross-border migration that allow for further protection and upholding of all human beings inherent rights as set out in the Declaration for Human Rights seventy years ago today.

For more information contact: Abigail Dawson. Communications and Media Officer: communications@cormsa.org.za +27 74 85 15683

NEWS: Global Compact on Migration 10-11 December 2018

Members of the United Nations (UN) are scheduled to meet from the 10th-11th December 2018 in Marrakesch, Morrocco to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Leading up to the adoption of the compact at the  General Assembly has seen a varied and growing response from ambivalence and  support to reservation and boycotting from UN members states.

The Global Compact is a non-binding document which will be adopted by UN Member states except for the United States of America. The document is grounded in values of non-discrimination and human right. It recognises the need for co-operation between states and the need to prioritise the benefits of migration while recognising the challenges and difficulties for all those in countries of origin, transit and host. This document is important as it will be a guiding principle for cross-border migration policy across the world. It will impact and influence policy in the fields of labour, immigration, detention, security, remittances among others.

Read the document here

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing at a Global Compact meeting earlier this year stated that The Global Compact is a historic opportunity to achieve a world in which migrants move as a matter of genuine choice. It’s time for the international community to come together to more responsibly and humanely manage the movement of people’

The Global Compact serves as an important opportunity for civil society organisations and grassroots organisations working in the field of migration to monitor and report on the impact and importance of these principles. Watch this video to hear more.

26th-30th November 2018

This week CoRMSA and its member organisations are organizing and apart of various activities and events in forwarding our mandate to promote and protect the human rights of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.

27th November

Abigail Dawson will be participating in a social dialogue on access to health care for refugees hosted by UNISA. The panel includes the MMC of health for City of Tshwane and representatives for Doctors without Borders (MSF). Refugees and asylum seekers often form part of the group that are targeted during Afrophobic and Xenophobic hostilities in South Africa. This impacts on the situation where the particular group seeks access to health care. The aim of this conversation will be to explore ways to provide access to health care to refugees and asylum seekers. Success stories of providing access to health will be shared in order to learn from those initiatives. Solutions to problems that are identified will be sought.

28th November

CoRMSA will be hosting its final quarterly members meeting in Johannesburg. This will be followed by our Annual General Meeting (AGM). Members will be reflecting on the year that has passed and thinking about a way forward going into 2019.

28th-29th November

Thifulufheli and Gloria will be attending Open Society Foundation (OSF), one of CoRMSA funders,  25 years commemorative celebrations in Cape Town. OSF is celebrating 25 years of grant making in South Africa, they are bringing together a number of the organisations they have supported to celebrate and engage in critical and current discussions based on the work being done.

30th November

Abigail will be attending a Health Indaba hosted by the Psycho-Social Right Forum at Johannesburg Children’s Home. The Psycho-Social Rights Forum has a number of member organisations including: Future Families, CSVR, Sophiatown Community Psychological Counselling. The aim of this dialogue is to form partnerships among the various stakeholders involved in the health sector with different roles, and together address, on one side, the difficulties faced by the participants in offering adequate services and, on the other, the main demands of our population of concern in the greater Johannesburg area. The idea is to identify common obstacles and share interests, resources, skills and capabilities, in order to support each-other and our clients.

 

Press Statement: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

For immediate release:

25 November 2018

#HearMeToo: Uniting to Protect Women on the Move

“Women and girls represent a significant proportion  of people on the move world wide” – IOM world migration report 2018. The risks and vulnerabilities  of women and girls on the move are shaped to a great extent by their gender. Violence does not have nationality attached to it. All women face violence in South Africa and across the world Since 1981, November 25th is recognised annually as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. Through resolution 54/134 passed in 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as a day to bring public awareness and collaborative intervention into eliminating violence against women and girls. This resolution,  has provided global impetus for the eradication of gender based violence.

 

In commemorating this year’s day, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)  joins  the rest of the world in uniting and calling for an end to the plight violence against Women. The theme for this year is OrangeTheWorld:#HearMeToo.  CoRMSA urges people in South Africa to unite with others around the world in wearing orange symbolizing a brighter future free from violence against women and girls. The 25thNovember marks the start of 16 days of activism leading up to Human Rights Day – December 10. Violence against women and girls has received both international (#MeTooMovement) and local attention  with the #MenAreTrash and #TotalShutdown in Pretoria earlier this year. These campaigns bring further attention to the violence which is often silenced and stigmatized and provides space for women to discuss their experiences of violence. However with no substantial intervention the scourge of gender-base violence continues in South Africa and across the world.

 

On this day CoRMSA brings attention to the need to end violence directed to asylum seekers, refugees,  migrants  and all the local South African women. Women in migration are particularly vulnerable and the victim to both gender based and xenophobic violence that occurs in their everday lives. It is critical and important for the authorities and communities at large to realise that women in migration’s experience of violence as intersectional and multi-layered, each individual being victimized on the basis of nationality, race, gender, class and ethnicity. In addition to this, many migrant women experience further victimization and discrimination as a result of their documentation status in their host countries, exposing them to further secondary victimization and exploitation. Women in migration are particularly vulnerable in their transit to seek protection or a better life and flee from persecution. They endure many forms of human rights abuses, both emotional and physical let alone sexual abuse. Reported incidences often include rape, deportation, xenophobia and discrimination. Because of their documentations status in host countries, women in migration face further silencing as they will often not report incidences of abuse or violence as they fear experiencing further discrimination and stigmatization from police or authorities.

 

Women have campaigned, women have lobbied, women have advocated, women have fought, women have cried, women have been silenced. It is time for women to be heard. CoRMSA on this day is calling on the South African Government through  President Cyril Ramaphosa to act earnestly and effectively to respond to the scourge of gender based violence in the country. The South African Police Services to be trained, equipped and sensitized to responding and protecting women against gender based violence. CoRMSA requests that the Department of Women act timeously to formulate appropriate and contextual policies to ensure that women can fully experience their right to ‘live free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources’ as laid out in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution.

For further information please contact: Ms. Abigail Dawson- Communications and Media Officer- CoRMSA. 0748515683/0114037560 communications@cormsa.org.za

 

NEWS ARTICLE: Should you believe Motsoaledi’s hype about the ‘foreign threat’ to healthcare?

A ‘foreign threat’ could be a convenient boogeyman in an election season where politicians will face questions about their failures. Or not?

Last week, Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi claimed in a speech at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union’s (Nehawu) Nurses’ Summit that undocumented immigrants are flooding South Africa and overburdening clinics and hospitals.When immigrants “get admitted in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing”, he said.

This article offers factual and insightful information into the current number of foreign-born people living in South Africa and the inability for such a number to flood a health system. Rather this article highlights the state of the Department of Health and its entrenched the failure to provide and effective service to already impoverished South Africans.

Read the article here:

https://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-11-20-00-immigrant-blame-game-motsoaledi-remarks-immigrants-strain-on-health-system?fbclid=IwAR3RB2QmjVC-jPLfUpAlNi7ZjYSBAuObIwtZN0WiSJip5zuthdVOI1JbIh4

Press Statement: Universal Children’s Day 2018

For immediate release:                                                                                                                                             

20 November 2018.

“Children in Migration Deserves Birth Certificate Too”

Today, 20thNovember is Universal Children’s Day, this day is celebrated annually. The goal of Universal Children’s Day is to improve child welfare worldwide, promote and celebrate children’s rights and encourage togetherness and awareness amongst all children. The Day was initially launched in 1954.  Since the UN General assembly adopted both the declaration and convention of Children’s Rights milestone events in the field of child welfare and protection have been evident. The convention sets out a number of children’s rights such as the right to be protected from violence and discrimination and the right to life, health and education.

Children’s rights in most developing countries such as South Africa and other countries are often no more than theoretical and a policy prioroty on a piece of paper, and not realised or respected in reality.  Children’s Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have experienced violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination based on their nationality, race, ethnicity, language and documentations status.  To start with, children in migration are the most vulnerable children around the globe with their lives depending on their documentations status.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) recently released a call for submissions on publication of the draft regulations on the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 2018. The Republic of South Africa’s government through the Department of Home Affairs are proposing that no foreign national child/ren born in the Republic of South Africa should be issued with a birth certificate once the regulation is adopted. The DHA are proposing issuing foreign national children with a mere “confirmation of birth”, which is “not a birth certificate”. The DHA  makes further recommendations for a parent to obtain a passport from their country of origin/nationality and thereafter apply for a Visa /permit for the child. CoRMSA asks: ‘How can a child born of a undocumented, stateless person, an asylum seeker and/or refugee parents be required to obtain a passport from their home country?’ If you are stateless, it means you have no country you belong to- where will you obtain a passport for the child? If you are an asylum seeker or a refugee – it means you are running away from your own country with fear of being persecuted. How on earth can one expect asylum seeker or a refugee parent to go back to the same country or government they are running away from to obtain a passport?  CoRMSA says: ‘Children in migration have a right to a birth certificate too’

The above clearly indicates a policy rhetoric of discrimination and prejudice on access to documentations for foreign national children.  Birth certificates are a fundamental form of legal documentation for children in migration. Such documents are vital for childrens protection against detention and key in accessing critical basic services such health care services, education (every child must be able to attend to school. It is their constitutional and fundamental right to have access to education)and shelter. The South African Constitution clearly states that every child has the right to a name and a nationality from birth;  How will children in migration enjoy that right with no “birth certificate”. CoRMSA calls for the scrapping and removal or amendment of these unconstitutional regulations (regulation1, 7 and 8) to give rise and access to birth certificates for children in migration.

For more information, contact Abigail Dawson. Email:communications@cormsa.org.za Mobile:  074 851 5683.