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Government Greenlights Final White Paper On Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection

by Central News Reporter
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The South African government has officially sanctioned the Final White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection, as unveiled by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the Home Affairs Minister, in a media briefing held on Wednesday.

In Dr Motsoaledi’s words, “The Department of Home Affairs carefully and duly considered all the oral and written submissions. This final White Paper is the product of robust engagements.”

He further stated, “The Cabinet of the Republic of South Africa approved this final White Paper on Wednesday, 10 April…and it has been published in the Government Gazette…today.”

The call for public comments saw an “overwhelming” response, the Minister relayed, with an array of participants including “individuals, that is citizens, asylum seekers and refugees as well as public interest groups, companies, national and local government departments, premiers, research institutes, political parties, [international bodies]…and many others making their voices heard and making constructive comments.”

Moreover, public hearings were conducted in all nine provinces, demonstrating the inclusive approach the department aimed for. “The outcome of the engagements and public comments is that the policy position adopted in the White Paper enjoys wide support,” Dr Motsoaledi affirmed.

However, he acknowledged that a “handful of public interest groups” opposed certain policy positions, such as the controversial withdrawal and re-acceding, with reservations, to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol, among others.

Addressing South Africa’s alignment with international agreements, the Minister noted the White Paper’s intention to pave the way for South Africa to apply reservations to elements of these international agreements.

“In 1996, two years after the first democratic elections, South Africa acceded to various international agreements… This was done without the government having developed a clear policy on migration, including refugee protection,” he observed.

Dr Motsoaledi highlighted the necessity for South Africa to review its stance on these agreements, citing the country’s inability to meet all the socio-economic rights envisaged by the 1951 Convention due to resource constraints.

“The Refugee Protection and Immigration legislation must provide for reservations and exceptions as contained in the 1951 Convention and the 1969 OAU Convention. Particularly in that South Africa does not have the resources to grant the socio-economic rights envisaged in the 1951 Convention,” he remarked.

The emphasis on realistic and sustainable policy adjustments represents an earnest attempt by the South African government to manage its obligations under international refugee and asylum protocols in a way that aligns with its domestic capacities and aims.

The Final White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection is now available for public access in the Government Gazette, marking a significant step towards reforming South Africa’s framework on migration and refugee protection.

For further information, the document can be viewed at http://www.gpwonline.co.za/GPWGazettes.htm#:~:text=50530%2017%2D04%20HomeAffairs.

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Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi expressed his concern over such actions and confirmed that the individuals have been repatriated to Pakistan at their own expense.


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