We can't treat refugees the same way we were treated under apartheid - LHR

As the world observes World Refugee Day, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) has written an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the letter, LHR accuses South African government of using detention and deportation as inhumane tools of managing immigration.

Marilyn Budow, head of the Law Clinic at LHR, says people are treated badly and are often abused when they arrive in South Africa seeking refuge and protection.

She says the manner in which refugees are treated needs to be brought into the public eye so that things may change.

Read: World Refugee Day in Ethiopia - Africa's second largest refugee hosting country

There are millions of people who are forced to flee to other countries, its a world wide problem and South Africa needs to play its part.

Marilyn Budow, Head of the Law Clinic at the Lawyers for Human Rights

Because of our history, it is important that we champion the rights of the people who are forced to flee... we cannot treat people the same way we were treated under apartheid.

Marilyn Budow, Head of the Law Clinic at the Lawyers for Human Rights

Budow says, although the statistics are questionable, about 96 out of 100 people seeking asylum are rejected.

A large number of asylum seekers come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), fleeing from their own government. When they get to South Africa they are rejected, says Budow.

There are people in Department of Home Affairs who are saying publicly that the young men who come here come for economic reasons, which is not the case.

Marilyn Budow, Head of the Law Clinic at the Lawyers for Human Rights

I want to invite everybody to go onto YouTube and see what is happening in the DRC, it is an absolute tragedy. We should be opening our arms to welcome and protect people.

Marilyn Budow, Head of the Law Clinic at the Lawyers for Human Rights

To hear the rest of the interview on refugee dynamics in South Africa,, listen below:


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