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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Coming to South Africa: an overview of the application for asylum and an introduction to the Refugees Act
Author:Jenkins, Frankie
Periodical:South African Yearbook of International Law
Geographic term:South Africa
Subject:right of asylum
Abstract:In the apartheid era, South Africa did not accede to international refugee conventions and administered its refugee policy on an ad hoc basis. Since the 1994 elections, South Africa has come to be seen as an option by asylum seekers. The 1993 agreement with the UNHCR to abide by international norms, and the ratification of the 1969 OAU Convention and the 1951 UN Geneva Convention, together with the 1967 Protocol, in 1995 and 1996, strengthened South Africa's position as a destination for people forced to flee. However, the Aliens Control Act of 1991 is still used to control the flow of refugees. In 1998 parliament adopted the Refugees Act, which has not yet come into operation. This paper deals with current legislation applying to an application for asylum in South Africa, including common law, with the procedures for an asylum application, and with the applicable substantive criteria. The present practice, based on the 1993 agreement with UNHCR, does not differ in essence from the future criteria to be applied under the Refugees Act. The most essential element in the application process is the provision in Section 2 of the Refugees Act for the protection of the right to life, dignity and freedom of an asylum seeker or refugee prior to the status determination procedure. This 'non-refoulement' clause provides for immediate protection and an enforceable right of admission. Notes, ref.