African Diaspora Forum condemns SA’s Refugees Amendment Act

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The Africa Diaspora Forum says changes in South Africa’s Refugee Amendment Act are nonsensical.

The Refugees Amendment Act came into effect on the 1st of January.

Some of the changes in the Act include preventing asylum seekers from participating in any political activity as well as clamping down on businesses and regulations on where they can work or go to school.

Doctor Vusi Sibanda from the Africa Diaspora Forum says the changes are very restrictive.

“Obviously, we find that to be quite nonsensical in the sense that refugees and asylum seekers are people that in the majority of the cases they are fleeing their countries mainly for political reasons and if you are going to disenfranchise them from taking active part in the politics, you are basically saying they cannot fix what is wrong in their countries.”

Meanwhile, Political Analyst Steven Friedman has warned that the South African government has tried to curtail the rights of refugees from protesting against the countries from which they fled.

“So, in other words, if you’re a refugee from a country, which you consider to be a human rights abuser, you may not campaign against that human rights abuse in SA unless you have the permission of the Minister of Home Affairs. There are some other restrictions, but those are by far the most serious because they do seem to very seriously restrict the rights of refugees and to prevent refugees in this country doing what refugees from this country did during the apartheid period.”