Immediate release: 18 March 2020 

COVID-19: CoRMSA calls for Non-Exclusionary Precautionary Treatment Measures. 

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) is deeply concerned with the potential impact and spread of COVID-19 in South Africa, the region, and the rest of the world. Following the announcement made by the President of South Africa on the 15th March 2020 with regard to the current status of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, CoRMSA calls on all persons to adhere to the precautionary measures to be followed by all persons within our borders in order to minimise the spread of the virus amongst all who live within the Republic. CoRMSA’s mandate is to promote and protect the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in South Africa. It is in line with this mandate that CoRMSA calls for non-exclusionary, precautionary and treatment measures to be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner, with regards to COVID-19. 

As CoRMSA, we wish to highlight that all individuals living within the Republic and the rest of the world, irrespective of nationality or documentation status (in particular asylum seekers, refugees and migrants), should and must be guaranteed that they will receive necessary attention equal to that provided to citizens when it comes to addressing COVID-19. The COVID-19 virus does not separate or discriminate based on one’s nationality, race, language or colour. Neither should the public health response. 

CoRMSA further calls upon the Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Health and Office of the President including the South African Human Right Commission to play a critical role of monitoring and overseeing that the human rights of those who are most vulnerable, such as refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, are not violated when it comes to responding to COVID-19 within the Republic. 

Human lives are at stake and now is not the time for the South African government to practice and implement any form of exclusionary or discriminatory measures. This is particularly relevant if the SA Government is to address the threat and spread of COVID-19 effectively. South Africa has a history of basic service exclusion when it comes to accessing basic lifesaving services, such as basic health care service, for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and CoRMSA wishes to reiterate that now is the time to ensure that those types of exclusions are not repeated. This should and must apply at hospitals, clinics, and Refugee Reception Offices when it comes to permits extension and renewals. 

CoRMSA applauds the President of South Africa on the South Africa’s swift and informative response. We encourage all our stakeholders and beneficiaries to follow the precautionary measures outlined by the President, and to keep informed through the correct and reliable information channels. 

Now is the time for all those in South Africa, citizens and foreign nationals alike, to be true to the values in South Africa’s Bill of Rights and Constitution, and to the value of uBuntu. We are all connected, and our humanity is intricately linked to the humanity of others. Now is the time to celebrate that, and live it, and ensure that while we exercise physical distancing we also exercise social solidarity. 

For more information on COVID-19, please see the SA Government’s official COVID-19 website 

For further information whatsapp “hi” to the Official SA Government COVID-19 support service: 060 012 3456. 

This press statement was endorsed by CoRMSA Members: Follow the link- 


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