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Neighbors In Need: Zimbabweans Seeking Refuge in South Africa

Neighbors In Need

Zimbabweans Seeking Refuge in South Africa

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I. Summary

II. Methodology

III. Recommendations

To the Government of South Africa

To UNHCR in South Africa

To international donors

IV. Zimbabweans in South Africa

Increased Numbers of Zimbabweans in South Africa

The South African Government’s Response to Date

Why Zimbabweans are Coming to South Africa: an Overview of a “Mixed Flow” of People

Legal Obligations Towards Lawfully Present Zimbabweans

Zimbabweans’ Assistance Rights and Needs in South Africa

V. Fleeing persecution: Operation Murambatsvina (“the evictions”)

The Evictions

People Directly Affected

Explanations for the Evictions

The Government’s Failure to Assist People Targeted by the Evictions

Legality

VI. Fleeing Economic Deprivation

Political Repression, Including those Indirectly Affected by Mass Forced Evictions

Deterioration of the Economy Fuelled by Ban on Informal Trading

Food

Health and HIV/AIDS

VII. International Refugee Law

Persecution of Zimbabweans Targeted by the Evictions

Zimbabweans Targeted by the Evictions Suffered Serious Harm

Showing that Zimbabweans Targeted by the Evictions were Viewed as Having a “Political Opinion”

Showing that Zimbabweans Targeted by the Evictions Fear Persecution Because of their Perceived “Political Opinion”

Other Considerations under Refugee Law Affecting Claims of Zimbabweans Targeted by the Evictions

Dealing with Potentially High Numbers of Asylum Claims by People Targeted by the Evictions

VIII. Failings in the Asylum and Deportation Systems Leading to Refoulement of Zimbabweans

Overview

Ongoing Failings in South Africa’s Asylum System Contributing to a Generalized High Risk of Refoulement

Obstacles to Gaining Access to the Asylum Procedure and Risk of Refoulement In-Country

Obstacles to Gaining Access to Refugee Status Determination: Delays in Processing Claims, Low Quality Decision-Making, and Limits to Appeals System Resulting in Risk of Refoulement

Clearing the Backlog and Coping with New Applications: the Asylum System under Continuous Stress

The DHA’s “Turnaround Strategy” and Improving the Asylum System

Deportation Practice Leading to Generalized Risk of Refoulement

IX. Adopting a Broad-Based Approach to Zimbabweans in South Africa: Allowing Entry, Regularizing Status, Ending Deportations and Granting the Right to Work

Overview of Need and Reasons for Broad-Based Approach

Current Options Available to Zimbabweans for Regularizing their Status in South Africa

Adopting a Broad-Based Approach

Exercising Discretion to Adopt a Broad-Based Approach: a New “Temporary Immigration Exemption Status for Zimbabweans”

X. Acknowledgments

 

June 2008   ISBN: 1-56432-343-9