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Press Statement: Youth Day 2019

Press Statement

 For immediate Release:                                                                                                                                                            16 June 2019.

“Refugee and Migrant Youth Are Youth Too – Says CoRMSA”

 June 16this South Africa’s Youth Day in commemoration of the 1976 Soweto Youth uprising. On this day, thousands of students from Soweto protested in defiance to Bantu Education, which institutionalised Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools. The Soweto uprising was a series of demonstrations and protests led by black school children in South Africa that began on the morning of 16 June 1976. Over 20000 protesting students were met by heavily armed police who fired live ammunition on protesting students killing many innocent students. This uprising gave significant strength to the liberation struggle in exposing the brutality of the apartheid state.

South Africa commemorates Youth Day annually in remembrance of the significance of the Soweto uprising and the bravery of those who fought and lost their lives for equality and justice for all in the country. This day consequently changed the social – political dynamics of South Africa.  This commemoration signifies the importance of engaging and supporting  all youth across the country irrespective of their nationality. Youth Day also aims at promoting and restoring relative peace and social stability amongst individuals including asylum seekers, refugees and migrant Youth of all ethnicities in South Africa and around the globe.

On this day, theConsortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), joins the community of South Africa and  rest of the world in commemorating and celebrating the struggle and bravery of the youth of 1976.  For today’s youth, CoRMSA acknowledges their courage and perseverance as they encounter struggles of inequality, poverty, injustice, unemployment and other forms of human rights abuses. The struggle for asylum seekers, refugees and migrant youth continues as they face various forms of human rights violations ranging from denial of access to basic education, health care service, documentations, unlawful arrest and detention to name a few.

CoRMSA calls all government departments, chapter 9 institutions,  and communities at large to build an inclusive South Africa where  young people realise their full potential, free from discrimination and prejudice in order to ensure that every young person regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, language, gender or religious beliefs enjoy and realise their human rights.  This realisation can be farfetched for those youths, living in conflict zones, unstable political situations and adverse family and community environments.

According to available evidence, globally, 1 in every 10 youths live in conflict zones with 24 million youth out of school.  This has led to increasing migration and isolation of youth in societies.It is prudent that the world and South Africa join hands in safeguarding the welfare of youths including asylum seekers, refugees and migrants through the acknowledgment and provision of basic human rights such as access to education, health, employment opportunities and access to legal documentation.

CoRMSA believes that every young person regardless of their nationality should exist in safe and enabling communities, free from xenophobia, discrimination and other intolerances. It is possible to co-exist and together attain economic freedom, social cohesion and enjoy the basic human rights as enshrined in the South African Constitution.

Press Statement: Mr President: Condemn Xenophobic Violence in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal  – It is Your Fault.

Press Statement                                                                                                                                                   28 March 2019.

For Immediate release:

Mr President: Condemn Xenophobic Violence in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal  – It is Your Fault.

On the 25thMarch 2019 the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances. This comprehensive policy document provides measures to prevent, address and combat issues of racism and xenophobia.

A few hours following the launch of this critical document asylum seekers, refugees and migrants living in Inanda Road, South Coast Road, Kenville area, Burnwood area and Greenwood area in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal have fallen victim to xenophobia. There are approximately 250 migrants including women and children seeking safety at the Sydenham Police Station as results of xenophobic attacks by local communities At 3am on 26thMarch 2018 people began banging on the doors of migrant homes and taking their possessions and belongs. A number of migrants are injured, hospitalised, displaced and are being treated in hospitals. Most of the migrants have lived in this community for up to nine years and are currently destitute and in fear of their lives. Is this democracy Mr. President Cyril Ramaphosa? Mr. President, you may hate foreign nationals (your current statement says a lot) and your hatred does not provide the nation you lead with the right to assault, tortures and attack foreign national living South Africa.  What do you mean when you say “Lets Grow South Africa Together” or is it another electioneering strategy at the expense of foreign nationals to win votes from poor and vulnerable South Africans, Mr. President?

With the NAP now a living document to combat such brutal and inhuman attacks, The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa is calling upon the President. Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy Minister of Justice, John Jeffery’s, to step up and harshly condemn these inhuman attacks. We demand the South African Police Services to maintain the peace and bring to books those involved in this brutality and hatred. CoRMSA requests all the local and traditional  leaders including the president to spread and send  a strong warning message  amongst their own as well as South African communities to refrain from such life threatening violence. More importantly, CoRMSA calls on leaders to use the timely National Action Plan to take immediate action in putting in place prevention and combatting measures to ensure this document is enacted and is not a document that is good on paper.

With elections approaching xenophobic statements such of the president and premier of Gauteng province have been on the rise as parties attempt to persuade voters on their current and future successes. Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants have been scapegoated for failing service delivery and systematic issues of corruption, poor planning and mismanagement of public funds intended to benefit the voters. CoRMSA calls for all political party leaders to use accurate and fact based information in their electioneering, rather then pinning blame to a minority of already vulnerable people seeking refuge and protection in South Africa. CoRMSA reminds political leaders that their statements echo into communities and often fuel further xenophobic incidences like what is happening in Durban now. CoRMSA demands that political leaders refrain from using inflammatory and petty politics to gain votes.

For further information, please contact: Ms Abigail Dawson on 074 851 5683/011 403 7560 communications@cormsa.org.za 

Press Statement: National Human Rights Day 2019

National Human Rights Day Press Statement                                                                                         21 March 2019.

For Immediate release:

CoRMSA Calls for a Stop in Scapegoating Migrants for Election Votes”

Endorsed by: Lawyers For Human Rights

In South Africa, the month of March is recognised as National Human Rights Month. The 21stMarch of each year being celebrated as a public holiday (Human Rights Day) to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre, which took place on this day in 1960. In addition this day is distinct in celebrating the human rights recognised in the Constitution that took effect for all in South Africa following the 1994 democratic elections.

This year on the 8thMay, South Africans will exercise their right to vote in electing the political leader/s they believe carry their hopes forward for a better South Africa, dignity and justice for all. Already, politicians through their political parties’ mandates have started canvasing and electioneering for votes from ordinary South Africans.  In the past few weeks and months, CoRMSA has witnessed and is concerned that politicians are scapegoating migrants to mask failures to deliver and implement policies.

The xenophobic rhetoric is barbaric. Electioneering statements and comments from political leaders are directed to foreign nationals blaming them for collapsing public services such as health, education and housing. Failure to deliver critical basic services to allin South Africa cannot be blamed on foreign nationals just to win votes from poor and vulnerable voters. The rhetoric of electioneering statements and false comments fuel xenophobia and divisions in communities with voters believing that poor service delivery is caused by the presence of foreign nationals in their communities. We call on the media to critical of what leaders say. Instead of just reporting false unsubstantiated statements, politicians need to account for corruption, self-indulgence , greediness and a dismal effort to effectively implement policies. This is the real cause of poor if not non-existent service delivery in our communities. It cannot be correct and accepted that 25 years into democracy, South Africa is still debating poverty and poor service delivery in communities where South African and foreign nationals live.

CoRMSA calls for an end to electioneering that is at the expense of already vulnerable groups of people (foreign nationals) and to respect the human rights for all who live in South Africa. CoRMSA calls for politicians to speak about measures they will be taking to ensure that the Bill of Rights is a living document that is respected and informs policy formulation and implementation. The preamble to the Constitution states clearly that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. Respect for human rights and human dignity is enshrined in our Constitution for everyone including asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who live in the republic without prejudice based on nationality, race, gender or religion. Politicians should focus on challenging and addressing xenophobia and discrimination in communities rather than fueling such social ills just to win votes. Deliver on your Constitutional mandate.

CoRMSA further calls upon the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to monitor the behaviour and public statements of political leaders to make sure that the behavior is within the IEC Code of Conduct of not promoting hate speech, fueling violence and statements which are discriminatory in nature. There has to be consequences for such infringements. CoRMSA also calls upon the South African Human Rights Commission to make sure that political statements are free from xenophobia and racism. Such statements only create a space where violence flourishes.

For further information, please contact:  Ms Abigail Dawson on 074 851 5683/011 403 7560 communications@cormsa.org.za 

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.