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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


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:

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. Mobile:  074 851 5683.

19th-20th November

Muluti Phiri, CoRMSA advocacy officer is attending a facilitated discussion, hosted by Legal Resource Centre in Cape Town, on undocumented children accessing education. This discussion aims to bring together various stakeholders in the Western Cape working towards the realization of the right to basic education as well as to map out some of the challenges faced by undocumented learners and jointly strategize on intervening in order to improve access to education for all learners. 

20th November

The African Centre for Migration and Society, a CoRMSA member, is hosting their final seminar of the series. This weeks seminar is titled Barriers to asylum seekers claiming their rights in South Africa’s asylum management system by Susan Tolmay (Amnesty International South Africa)Susan Tolmay from Amnesty International South Africa will be giving feedback and insight into their research conducted in Refugee Reception Offices in South Africa. Follow the Facebook Event page here for more details

Last Week Updates:

CoRMSA along with other member organisations made submissions to the proposed regulations to the Birth and Death Registration Act. One of the main issues with these regulations is birth certificates will no longer be issued to foreign children but rather a ‘confirmation of birth’ certificate. Legal identity to key to accessing basic human rights, this regulation will cause further injustice for children accessing health care and education. Follow this signature campaign and press release for more details.

Keep following us for further updates.




CoRMSA Director ( Thifulufheli Sinthumule) presenting  on the work of CoRMSA and the actions developed by the organisation, such as the SADC regional migrants network, challenges and possible solutions to regional migration  This presentation was done during the “Intraregional Migration” session.
Other Panelist were:
1. A description of migration flows in the SADC Region, International Organisation for Migration, Mr Charles Allan Kwenin, Regional Director for the Southern Africa, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

2. Migratory challenges in the context of informal economy, Ms Patricia Horn, Coordinator at Streetnet international.

3. Migrant workers: the experience of the African Trade Union Migration Network, Michael Kandukutu, ZCTU.

4. Presentation of position of the EU civil society on migrations, José Antonio Moreno Díaz, EESC Member.

All presentations inputs will form part of the seminar declaration that will be shared with the heads of states, civil society organisations and participants.


CoRMSA is and will be presenting at the 1 Windhoek, Namibia. 8-9 November 2018. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is mandated to organise consultation sessions and meetings of ACP-EU economic and socialinterest groups in order to voice these actors’ views on the ACP-EU partnership and foster cooperation between civil society organisations.

CoRMSA will present during the session on intraregional migrations will take place on 9 November from 9.00 to 11.30 am. Entitled, “the challenges of intraregional migration flows”, the session foresees several interventions. We will count with a description of migrations flows within the region, the perspective of a Trade Union migration network on Migrant workers, the intervention of an academic. CoRMSA will present the consortium and the actions developed by the organisation, such as the SADC regional migration network, challenges and possible solutions on migration thereof.

The main topics of the seminar are:

– SADC-EU relations, including the European Investment Plan (EIP) and the European Partnership Agreements (APEs);

– resilience to environmental changes;

– intraregional migrations

The 16th Regional Seminar of ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups aims to bring together approximately 80 representatives from civil society coming from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the ACP and the EU to discuss topics of common interest. Participants will include economic and social actors (trade unions’, employers’, consumers’, farmers’ and NGOs’ representatives) from the region, in addition to a variety of other participants from the EU and the ACP countries (EU institutions, international and regional organisations, representatives of the ACP partnership, etc.).


PSI: People’s NHI Campaign Task Team Meeting

31st October 2018

CoRMSA attended and participated in a conference in August 2018 hosted by Public Service International (PSI) on the National Health Insurance (NHI). At this conference CoRMSA presented the importance of including and expanding access to basic healthcare service for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers being stipulated in the current NHI Bill. The conference resulted in various resolutions and highlighted that campaigning and advocacy is urgent. It was agreed that a Task Team  be formed  of Trade Union federations and progressive Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) to take these efforts forward.

On the 31st October 2018 Trade Union Federations and Civil Society organizations met to revisit the resolutions and concretize the task team and plans going forward. One of the resolutions of the conference was that ‘all inhabitants of the world must have access to our hospitals. This is irrespective of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and nationality. The conference supported better research into migrant experiences and uses of public hospitals. there was a recognition for the need for greater understanding of migrant rights’

Discussion of this resolution with the task team resulted in the resolution to be broadened to prioritize broad access to basic health care for all people in South Africa regardless of documentation. Furthermore an addition to this resolution emphasized that discussions on access to health for migrants should shift from focusing on overcrowding of facilities but rather point to incapacity of the Department of Health to provide basic services.

The Task Team highlighted key problems in the current NHI Bill. These included: exclusion of access to health for undocumented migrants, clarity on how the NHI fund will be administrated, lack of representation on the advisory committees as set out in Gazzette July 2017 by Trade Unions and CSO’s- this means that implementation plans and the Ministers informants will be skewed towards private party interests. The Task Team developed strategies and a way forward. This will be finalized and communicated further.






Hate Crimes Working Group Roundtable Dialogue

31st October 2018

CoRMSA is attending and participating at the roundtable dialogue on the ‘Prevention and Combating Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill’, with the view of better understanding and assessing potential implications once the Bill is enacted. CoRMSA is one of the founding member of the Hate Crime Working group.

The objectives of the roundtable are to:

  • Assess the constitutionality of the Bill
  • Determine the implications of the minimum sentencing provision in the Bill
  • Better understand the costing of the Bill
  • Determine the implications of policing of the Bill

The roundtable is taking place in Cape Town, Western Cape. Continue to follow our social media platforms and website posts for updates on our working in the Hate Crimes Working Bill


Whats Happening This Week:

29th-2ndNovember 2018

Tuesday 30thOctober

CoRMSA Director, Thifulufheli Sinthumule is attending the 4thDonor Conference hosted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in Pretoria,  at the Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria. The conference was officially opened by Minister Adv Masutha. The aim of the Conference is to create a platform for engagement and collaboration between the DOJ&CD and the donor sector, which includes traditional donors, the private and philanthropic sectors. The Conference will also focus on strengthening institutional mechanisms to improve and enhance cooperation between donors and government’s strategic objectives, as outlined in the National Development Plan and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Wednesday 31st  November

In August 2018 CoRMSA participated in a National Health Insurance (NHI) conference hosted by Public Service International (PSI) speaking to access to health for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa. One of the resolutions from the conference was the formation of a NHI Task Team. Abigail Dawson will be attending the NHI Task Team Meeting advocating for broader and comprehensive access to health for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.

Muluti Phiri, CoRMSA’s advocacy officer, is attending Save The Children’s workshop on child’s rights and business principles. The aim of this workshop is to equip CSO’S and Trade Unions with knowledge of Child’s Rights and Business Impacts and CRBP; Strengthen Civil Society Organizations on child rights and business; To identify and understand contextual child right and business impacts; To map out stakeholders/sectors (Business, CSOs and Trade Unions in the province with the view of putting together a joint plan action for the realisation of child rights.

Thifulufheli Sinthumule,  will be in Cape Town attending a roundtable dialogue on the Prevention and Combating Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. CoRMSA was one of the founding members of the Hate Crimes Working Group and has been making inputs and monitoring the drafting of the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

 Friday 2nd November

Muluti Phiri will be attending the Provincial Steering Committee meeting on Unaccompanied and Separated Children Migrant Children hosted at the Department of Social Development offices in Germiston in partnership with Save The Children. CoRMSA is a key member of this committee and uses this platform to advance the promotion and protection of children on move, unaccompanied and separated children.


30th October 2018: Donor Conference by Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Today CoRMSA is participating at the 4th Donor Conference hosted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in Pretoria,  at the Southern Sun Hotel. The conference was officially opened by Minister Adv Masutha.

The aim of the Conference is to create a platform for engagement and collaboration between the DOJ&CD and the donor sector, which includes traditional donors, the private and philanthropic sectors. The Conference will also focus on strengthening institutional mechanisms to improve and enhance cooperation between donors and government’s strategic objectives, as outlined in the National Development Plan and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

CoRMSA hopes to establish various partnerships with different entities to strengthen the protection and promotion of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants rights in the country, regionally, continentally and globally.

Read the conference concept note here

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