‘Officials abuse their power when detaining undocumented migrants’

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Lawyers for Human Rights say officials abuse their power when detaining undocumented migrants.

The organisation launched a report on the Status of Immigration Detention in South Africa.

It focuses on recent trends in immigration detentions in the country, with a particular look at the impact on migrants and their interactions with government officials.

The head of the penal reform programme at Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Nabeelah Mia, says officials do not follow the 48 hours time-frame rule when detaining persons without documentation.

“There is often an abuse of that time period of 48 hours. Because during that 48 hours they not allowed to just keep you there for the 48 hours and do nothing. They actually have to actively take steps to verify your ID.”

“If you say my ID or my documentation or my refugee passport is at home, they are supposed to take you home to go and verify. But they don’t do that, the police take people, they drive around in the vans and wait for you to cave and solicit bribes before releasing you. And we found that to happen so often,” explains Mia.

Below is the full interview: