Lawyers for Human Rights

How will our society be measured on corruption?

Rita* fled the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa in 2009 after suffering unspeakable horrors and grave violations to her rights amid ongoing violence. The department of home affairs immediately recognised her as a refugee but when she was asked to pay a large amount of money to receive her refugee permit, Rita refused…

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Long delays in processing asylum claims disgraceful

By Thandeka Duma Weeks spent in queues turned into months and months turned into years for a Burundian mother of four who applied for asylum in South Africa back in 2008. Her asylum application was rejected by the refugee status determination officer (RSDO) and she appealed this decision to the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB) in…

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Asylum seekers and bridging the gap in mental health

*Selam sits nervously in my office, lost in thought. In tears, she recalls her brushes with violence and terror since leaving Ethiopia in 2009. She has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, manifested by the continual abuse. She is one of many people being helped by Lawyers for Human Rights’ pilot project, funded by…

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Saying farewell to a legend

It is difficult to come to terms with the news that the world’s most revered statesman and human-rights activist is gone. As is so often said, he now belongs to the ages. Although an old man, he seemed immortal. But Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a man, a man whose dedication to the struggle against apartheid…

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Asylum in Germany, asylum in SA: Is there justice and humanity?

Although the numbers are disputed, South Africa and Germany are among the States Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention that receive the most asylum applications in the world. It is interesting, then, to compare the legal frameworks that both countries apply to asylum seekers. The most striking difference is that, in South Africa, asylum seekers…

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Should Germany protect Edward Snowden?

By Christoph Tometten Asylum for Edward Snowden in Germany? The federal minister of the interior has ruled it out. But is it really impossible to grant protection to Snowden? A thorough reading of the law calls for a more differentiated answer. The asylum procedure is an assessment of whether an asylum seeker is entitled to…

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ID blocking: A growing threat to nationality

By Liesl Muller South Africa’s 1994 elections paved the way for all citizens to enjoy the human rights flowing from equal citizenship but rumours of the deficient pre-electoral registration of the previously disadvantaged have been wholly disregarded in the wake of apartheid’s fall. The effects of rushed registration policies have caught up with us and…

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Denying it’s xenophobia isn’t helping

By David Cote The recent attacks against foreign nationals, particularly those operating shops in townships and informal settlements, have sent shivers down the spines of many in South Africa and across the continent. It has been five years since coordinated attacks exploded across the country and led to the deaths of 64 people and the…

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The truth about rights in South Africa

By Iqbal Suleman Rights ranging from access to land to access to justice are entrenched in our Constitution. These rights are presumed to be available and readily accessible to everyone. The Constitution tells us that we all have equal rights but the reality shows us otherwise. In a free market economy, nothing is really free….

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Five years on and no closer to solving xenophobic hatred

By Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh May marks five years since the xenophobic attacks that shocked the nation. But what has happened since then? Are we better prepared to deal with criminality of that scale than we were five years ago? The simple answer is no. South Africa — in its 19 year democratic history — had never…

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