HSF rejects finalisation of white paper on citizenship, immigration and refugee protection

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is dismayed by Cabinet’s decision to adopts as final the White Paper on the Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection: Towards a Complete Overhaul of the Migration System in South Africa (White Paper). This, despite strenuous objections from numerous civil society organizations, including HSF.

In our submission on the White Paper, HSF pointed out that the White Paper fails at the threshold for sound government policy‑making because it provides an inscrutable solution without properly defining the challenges which migration poses to South Africa. Instead, the White Paper bemoans South Africa’s already strict legal regime for refugee protection and fails to recognise basic legal realities that prevent largescale tightening of our refugee laws.

The principle of non-refoulement and the Constitution’s own rights prevent meaningful departure from the framework for refugee protection which South Africa already has.

Moreover, the White Papers’ calls for institutional reform, while perhaps laudable when considered on their own, distract from the DHA’s backlogs and incapacity – neither of which are addressed in any detail in the White Paper.

HSF rejects the adoption of this final White Paper by Cabinet and calls on Parliament to not adopts its proposals into law.

 HSF’s submission challenging the White Paper can be viewed here.