Tebogo Msimanga |
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Gillian Triggs met on Tuesday to review and also take forward the strategic approaches to the management of asylum and refugees in South Africa at the second High-Level Bilateral meeting in Pretoria.
The meeting was agreed to in March 2020 and was delayed as a result of Covid-19.The meeting discussed strengthening of the asylum and refugee system in South Africa, including legislative reform, social assistance, refugee status determination and the backlog project and the Global Compact on Refugees
“This bilateral was instructed by our Cabinet to, amongst others, overhaul the management of the asylum system in South Africa with the intension to partner with UNHCR to provide increased technical assistance and resource mobilization support in order to enhance the protection regime and strengthen our strategic partnership, said Minister Motsoaledi.
Both the Minister and the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection emphasised the need to strengthen the bilateral efforts to fight against the abuse of the asylum system while protecting its integrity.
Minister Motsoaledi outlined that Government is reviewing the Refugee Act, the Citizenship Act and the Immigration Act to align them and simplifying them for everyone.
The Assistant High Commissioner appreciated that South Africa was reviewing these laws. Triggs said that it was important to provide a speedy and fair determination of asylum claims.
She also urged refugees and asylum-seekers to respect the local laws of the host country.