ConCourt rules asylum seekers status will affect children

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The rights of children have been thrust in the spotlight at the Constitutional Court as it upheld the order of invalidity of parts of the Refugee Act that declared that asylum seekers who have not renewed their visas within one month of the date of expiry, are considered to have abandoned their asylum application.

The court found that children would be affected by the application of their parents and would suffer a similar fate should their parents be deported.

The matter was brought before the apex court by the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town against the impugned sections of the Act which came into effect in 2020.

The ConCourt found that it cannot be in the interests of the children to face deportation due to circumstances beyond their control, a paramount principle in any matter concerning a child.

Justice Steven Majiedt says, “Ordinarily, a child’s asylum application is closely linked to that of their parents. When a parent’s asylum application is abandoned, it frequently results in a similar fate for the child’s application.”

“Consequently, due to bureaucratic circumstances beyond their control, children find themselves vulnerable to arrest and detention and are stripped of the protection they might otherwise have rightfully received. Even more troubling, they are exposed to the peril of deportation to the very country from which they sought refuge. This cannot be in their best interests.”

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