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: +27 74 85 15683

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