south africa refugee crisis

The reason such a conflation remains resonant, is that it serves well to improve the domestic legitimacy in face of a largely disenfranchized population, who is at the losing end of a lack of economic integration. Read about our approach to external linking. In this way, the criminalization narrative serves the purpose of both not needing to address xenophobic violence, as well as creating a threat that conflates the two categories of people. There is a broad consensus of securitization of migration governance in South Africa, also prominent in the most recent elections in 2019 (see also Chigumadzi, 2019). According to a 2019 audit of the immigration process at the DHA, it would take 68years to work through the backlog of pending asylum cases noted in 2017 (Auditor General of South Africa, 2019). Yet, the political blame is not on the costly, burdensome and ineffective system, but rather that foreigners are taking up publicly funded resources, pushing the state to ever more securitization. But in the long run, the more extensive struggle is against exploitation, poverty and underdevelopment not only within southern Africa, but on a global stage.

Select your institution from the list provided, which will take you to your institution's website to sign in. Is Europe set for its worst wildfire season? Such a broad narrative does not allow for a differentiation between refugees needing protection, nor is it based on evidence. At worst, in May, 2008, 62 people were violently murdered, including 21 South Africans, and over 100,000 displaced (Misago, 2019). The broad societal acceptance of the conflated narrative as introduced above, makes any policy that is not outright exclusionary politically difficult to implement, since according to one refugee and migrant representative the political pressure from the grassroots against migrants is so strong that very few politicians can disregard it (Interview Migrant Organization, Telephone, April 2020). Thus, though the conflation of refugees and migrants may be useful for a broader conceptualization of people on the move in this context it is a political non-distinction that serves to exclude all. "And of course from a humanitarian point of view it's unacceptable that it continues - children don't go to school. However, the refugees say they feel unsafe in South Africa's townships and have vowed to remain in the church until they are resettled elsewhere. Her voice breaking as she recounts her horrific ordeal, she says her problems are compounded by South Africa's inefficient asylum process, where applicants can spend years waiting for refugee status. Ukrainians given sight back settle into new life, 'We've spent years preparing our Comic-Con costumes' Video'We've spent years preparing our Comic-Con costumes', The woman who built a career from true crime and make-up, Whisky makers are turning their backs on peat, No faith in Russia, Germany scrambles for energy, Most of us don't clean our teeth in the right way, Why dark Japanese fairy tale Princess Mononoke was too much for Hollywood, Some street vendors say moonlight and dew are the magic ingredients. The contradictory message in the White Paper calls both for free movement (for highly-skilled migrants) and restrictive policies. "All the tour operators don't come here any more and we are just waiting for something to be done. Nigerian anger over S Africa xenophobic attacks, Ramaphosa: 'South Africans don't hate foreigners', SA minister demands better migration controls, Trump ignored pleas to condemn riot - hearing, Ukraine and Russia 'poised to sign grain deal', Russia about to run out of steam in Ukraine - MI6. The option offered to Zimbabweans to surrender their asylum claims in favor of the DZP also played into the hands of xenophobic politicians. See below. Why? This figure which has since then widely stuck in the public imagination was likely due to the counting methodology of all those that had made a claim since 2006, rather than the actual number of open cases (Africa Check, 2016). An us versus them approach to the economic problems gives political capital. As explained by a staff member of the South Africa Human Rights Commission: people get to be blamed and so you dont look at the bigger picture. View your signed in personal account and access account management features. Whilst a more encompassing definition of refugees and migrants allows for a better grounding for rights-based advocacy and recognition of human agency for those on the move, as a political instrument in South Africa it has only served to reiterate xenophobic sentiments of othering. the relevance now) but more broadly focused on post-apartheid South Africa from 1998 onwards when the first legislation on refugees was adopted. Thus, a common evasion to avoid responsibility for xenophobic violence is to blame it on criminality (see also Polzer & Takabvirwa, 2010; and comments by MP Lekota in Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, 2019; see also Peberdy, 2000). 6 For refugees entering South Africa as migrants in the 1970s see Musoni (2020). One of the changes is that asylum seekers are given a transit visa on arrival after which they must present themselves to a Refugee Reception Office (RRO), authorities under the DHA, within five days. Additional resources include laws, reports, parliamentary proceedings, and newspaper articles. The subsequent renewals of the DZP have also excluded irregular migrants who came into the country after 2010, and the initial numbers have kept reducing with each phase of the dispensation. books library national israel hebrew italy times tal catalogued ya historic italian three help catalog explosion power iran plant reportedly Register a free Taylor & Francis Online account today to boost your research and gain these benefits: No Hope for the Foreigners: The Conflation of Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, a Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, b Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, Migrants or Refugees? Similarly, migrants may turn to the asylum system to get permission to work, in the absence of working visa opportunities (e.g.

On a later page of the new asylum application (p. 9), applicants have to disclose their financial details as well as how they intend to support themselves, and dependents, now that they are in the country. In their time of need the church offered the group sanctuary. More concrete legislative changes are visible if we consider the evolving nature of the Refugee Act. Request Permissions, Read Online (Free) relies on page scans, which are not currently available to screen readers. They are demanding that the South African government and the UNHCR resettle them outside the country. Similarly, one of the most recent strategic plans of the DHA describes the government office as the patriotic guardians of our precious identity, citizenship and security (DHA Strategic Plan 20152020: page 18). However, interviews with many civil society actors and legal advocates who have long interacted with the DHA in a professional capacity helped us to better understand their actions, as well as the focus groups with refugees who were in a direct working relationship with them. The reluctance of officials to advocate and implement free movement in the region is linked to the fear that it would lead to an influx of migrants to one of the continents strongest economies. "South Africa is a generous host country with progressive asylum policies and laws," it added. The key informants were purposively selected based on their involvement in refugee protection and migration related activities. The current Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, claimed in 2018 when he was still health minister the weight that foreign nationals are bringing to the country has got nothing to do with xenophobia its a reality. 3 Description and acknowledgments after further review to allow for anonymity. Department of Home Affairs, 2017, 75). The broader sentiment was that undocumented persons for whatever reason which can include both those seeking asylum or employment are likely to be criminals. He says they are aware that the UNHCR does not do group resettlements, opting to evaluate applicants on a case-by-case basis. Refugees in South Africa have to regularly renew their asylum visas at the department of home affairs. Effectively, they seek to reinforce government legitimacy and the need to be seen to be taking action in response to the complaints raised by the perpetrators of xenophobia rather than the victims. Access to content on Oxford Academic is often provided through institutional subscriptions and purchases. caritas north korean children korea dprk nord vaccination encephalitis vaccinations hepatitis serious problem health Thirdly, the conflated narrative is also evident when considering the link that is made between non-citizens and criminality. For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription. Yet, public media outlets speak of unfounded millions of migrants (e.g. We use cookies to improve your website experience. Beyond these legislative changes, there is also a policy-level conflation, discussed below. This constructed threat is directly tied to violent consequences of the conflation of refugees and migrants which is discussed next. Refugees, migrants and the politics of labelling, 15 million people in SA are unregistered, and many are stateless children, Two steps forward, one step back: Zimbabwean migration and South Africas regularising programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Criminality or monopoly? All three amendment acts only came into force in January 2020 with the publication of accompanying regulations. Waiting in long queues and faced by documents they do not understand, many have grown weary of the process. Moreover, in the context of South Africa, the legislative, policy and narrative conflation is done to justify exclusion and holds dangerous, violent consequences for migrant communities. The major white papers, laws and parliamentary proceedings were analyzed for how they used the terminology refugees and migrants, both separately and in relation to determine when and how a conflation had taken place. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? The data for this paper was collected as part of a larger research project which focuses on the political stakes of refugee governance in Africa, including in South Africa.3 The paper draws on 32 semi-structured key informants interviews in Johannesburg, the border town of Musina and on the phone with policy makers, politicians, civil society activists, diaspora leaders and academic experts between February and April 2020. About 45,255 people gave up their asylum claims during the DZP project in 2010 which further reinforced sentiment that they were indeed economic migrants (Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, 2014). Shibboleth / Open Athens technology is used to provide single sign-on between your institutions website and Oxford Academic. For example, the heavy-handed and militaristic Operation Fiela (or sweep clean) launched in response to xenophobic violence in 2015 (with a second round in 2018), largely rounded up undocumented migrants, violating a number of legal and human rights provisions (Dodson & Crush, 2015). The generous system of refugee protection, based on a Refugee Act from 1998, is often internationally lauded, most recently in 2019 by the head of the UNHCR UNHCR. Nadine Nkurukiye escaped unrest at home in Burundi and has been living in South Africa for 13 years, but has not been granted asylum. If I throw you a bone, you can fight over that bone (Interview, Johannesburg, February 2020). "This has had a huge effect on my business," he tells the BBC. Its the Wrong Question.

This opening statement not only disregards refugee protection speaking merely of opportunities - but also emphasizes the onus on South African sovereignty and the security of the country. The Politics of the Migrant/Refugee Binary. This has "made it even more onerous and even more difficult for asylum seekers in South Africa," Ms Gandar says. In other words, the economic argument not only conflates the legal-political categories of refugees and migrants, but it is also used to rhetorically create divisions that politicians can politically capitalize on, namely the impression is that the irregular migrants in the country are taking jobs, even if people dont have specific data or numbers (Interview, Human Rights Advocate, Musina, March 2020). If you are a member of an institution with an active account, you may be able to access content in one of the following ways: Typically, access is provided across an institutional network to a range of IP addresses. The interviews with key informants give an overview of the conditions in South Africa in terms of changes in the legislation, the refugee protection regime, and other issues. Though, critical skills are highly valued in policy documents, migrants eligible for critical skills and business visas account for a small number of people entering the country, with the majority of migrants being so-called low-skilled or semi-skilled foreign workers (Peberdy, 2009). South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world, with the gap between the rich and the poor growing, and African migrants are caught in the middle of this divide. We then go on to point to the consequences this holds in the next section of the paper, including a securitized response to (nearly) all non-citizens, which at worst holds violent consequences because of xenophobic attacks. This argument is on two-levels: on the one hand, the argument postulates that migrants are abusing the asylum system for the lack of other alternatives, which results in not believing any refugees for their claims of asylum. Repeatedly, xenophobia is disproportionately directed at Black African migrants regardless of their legal status (Amusan & Mchunu, 2017). In 2015, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) reported over a million asylum seekers, which UNHCR repeated in their annual global report. 88,694people have refugee status in South Africa, Less than 1 in 6applicants granted refugee status, 142,548backlog of asylum cases home affairs considering in 2017. Focusing on Zimbabwean migration to South Africa, Polzer argues that it is a challenge to craft responsive policies that cater for mixed migrant flows in the context of international and domestic legal traditions which separate political refugees from economic migrants (2008). Crawley & Skleparis, 2018) but the legislation does not claim to open a broad rights-based approach based on a common understanding of people on the move. Similarly, labels and categories, which may seem bureaucratic or legal, are linked to the politics of the time they are created (McMahon & Sigona, 2018). Whereby Zetter notes that governments construct the label of refugee to legitimize exclusion of others (2007) in South Africa we show how the label refugee is being dismantled in the interest of securitizing and othering all migrants (apart from the so-called high-skilled ones, whose numbers are few and far between). This adds to the narrative level conflation, discussed next. The exception to the rule to the exclusionary immigration regime has been the introduction of the Documentation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) in 2010, the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) in 2015 as well as the Angola Special Permit in 2017. This burden for asylum seekers of constantly renewing their permits, often having to travel far distances, and waiting in long queues is unsustainable. If you believe you should have access to that content, please contact your librarian. Children play on the cobbled pavements as their mothers stoke the fires they make to prepare dinner. It highlights that international migration encompasses both refugees and migrants. Based on 32 interviews and four focus groups conducted in Johannesburg and Musina in spring 2020, we show the conflation between refugees and migrants through changing legislation, a bureaucratized system which makes access to any legal status difficult and political narratives that serve to construct a threat. 4 Click the account icon in the top right to: Oxford Academic is home to a wide variety of products. This is evident in the actions of the government each time there is xenophobic violence, where the police are deployed to arrest and deport undocumented migrants. This idea of guarding identity and security of the country is reflected in an increasingly securitized response to all movements of non-citizens, with a focus on stronger borders, deportations and detention (and has been long in the making Hammerstad, 2012; Musoni, 2020). Following successful sign in, you will be returned to Oxford Academic. Hence, rather than discussing (and advocating on the basis of) the conflated definition of all non-citizens, future research and advocacy could focus on the political reasons for this conflation and discussing the xenophobic sentiment on the continent more broadly. This results in dangerous, sometimes violent consequences for migrant communities themselves. The initiative differs greatly to previous ones for example when Mozambique refugees were offered migrant status in the 1990s, which were permanent. The DZP effectively keeps recipients in a state of permanent temporariness (Moyo, 2020). The 2017 Paper notes that a holistic approach is needed since forced migration, immigration and emigration are all interconnected (e.g. Transafrican Journal of History The indiscriminate restriction of migrants speaks to the political dismantling of the distinction between refugees and migrants, in order to exclude both. plant series explosion plot power iran times reportedly handed latest damages cathedral paul st ap mysterious blasts sentence blow woman After successful registration, asylum seekers are usually given a section 22 permit, which prior to their asylum hearing provides them with documentation to legally reside in the country. These are now discussed in turn. The two locations were chosen for their central role in migration governance the most important urban hub in the country with a long history of migration (e.g. View the institutional accounts that are providing access. Indeed, the pandemic response is a continuation of existing refugee and migration governance responses in the country (Moyo etal., 2021). This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. One of our interlocutors noted that the commitment to free movement in the White Paper just gets put in there, is NGO language but they are not interested in that (Interview, Researcher, Telephone, February 2020). Nshimbi & Fioramonti, 2014). This may be true on an analytical level and for individuals on the move (e.g. Here you will find options to view and activate subscriptions, manage institutional settings and access options, access usage statistics, and more. To further illustrate, the document mentions the term risk 65 times, security 63 times and protection by contrast only 17 times (Department of Home Affairs, 2017). One tenet of this securitization at a policy-level is the persistent deportation regime. Social deprivation is often responded to by identity politics. All this results in layers of trauma for asylum seekers, who are subjected to administrative violence inflicted by our asylum systems dysfunction (Interview Advocacy Organization, Telephone, March 2020). As Zetter notes: Labels do not exist in a vacuum. For one migrant rights activist, this has resulted in a crisis of the rule of law (Interview, telephone, March 2020). For the second time within the space of one year, in January 2021, South Africa closed its land borders (except for haulage trucks) in light of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the one at Beitbridge between the borders of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Apart from these notable flashpoints, there have been other less publicized instances of violence against African migrants as documented by the watchdog platform Xenowatch (Mlilo & Misago, 2019).

South Africa was one of the first countries on the continent to go into the lockdown and simultaneously announced they would build a 40-km fence on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. If you see Sign in through society site in the sign in pane within a journal: If you do not have a society account or have forgotten your username or password, please contact your society. Firstly, then, a common narrative that ignores systemic factors and is entirely unsubstantiated in numbers is summed up in the words of a prominent African National Congress (ANC)-politician that the majority of refugees are here for economic reasons, the system is open to abuse (Interview Johannesburg, February 2020).

"I feel they should just go away, it's not right what they are doing," says angry resident Russell Rass. Its leaders are feeding it, Refugees, migrants, neither, both: Categorical fetishism and the politics of bounding in Europes migration crisis, Global Commission on International Migration, Migration governance and migrant rights in the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Attempts at harmonization in a disharmonious region, We deport them but they keep coming back: The normalcy of deportation in the daily life of undocumentedzimbabwean migrant workers in Botswana, Securitisation from below: The relationship between immigration and foreign policy in South Africas approach to the Zimbabwe crisis, African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, No African Is a Foreigner in Africa except down in South Africa, Foreign nationals are burdening SA health system: Motsoaledi, Navigating the Central Mediterranean in a time of crisis: Disentangling migration governance and migrant journeys, Political mobilisation as the trigger of xenophobic violence in post-apartheid South Africa, Seeking solidarity: Zimbabwean undocumented migrants in Cape Town, 2007, Transforming refugees into migrants: Institutional change and the politics of international protection, Zimbabwean dispensation, special and exemption permits in South Africa: On humanitarian logic, depoliticisation and invisibilisation of migrants, Transnational habitus and sociability in the city: Zimbabwean migrants experiences in Johannesburg, South Africa, Who is watching? Thus, a politician told us, Its not xenophobia just be documented and dont be a criminal (Interview Johannesburg, February 2020). Secondly, beyond employment the threat narrative that conflates refugees and migrants also relates to access to public services more broadly including schools and hospitals. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. "We are not xenophobic, we work for our money. Going forward, addressing xenophobia and the benefits of safe and easy Intra-African migration can help to pivot back to a more inclusive rights-based definition of refugees and other migrants. Our research shows that conflation between refugees and other migrants, primarily those termed as labor migrants, happens at three levels: at a legislative level, at a policy level making access to all non-citizens difficult and at a narrative level which focuses on constructing a major threat stemming from the presence of non-citizens in the country. Register, Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. An additional consequence to the state-level violence through the conflation is the ever-present threat of xenophobic violence against non-citizens. We also consider discussions from four focus group discussions with refugees and asylum seekers, and South African youth respectively, again both in Johannesburg and Musina, South Africa. We consider more recent changes in legislation and practice as well as public rhetoric to show that there is a legislative, policy-level and narrative conflation of migrants and refugees. At best, migrants and refugees can expect to live many years in a state of permanent temporariness. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. The multi-coloured walls and friendly staff of Scalabrini's offices are a welcome relief for desperate foreigners in search of help. Frustrated with the never-ending asylum renewal process, the refugees want to leave South Africa, with many saying they are also victims of xenophobia and discrimination. Yet, labeling matters, especially if this results in different forms of protection, even if this is dwindling (see also Mourad & Norman, 2020). By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies. These changes do not impact the academic content of the article. Musoni, 2020; Polzer, 2010). An assessment of xenophobic/afrophobic attacks in South Africa (20082015): Whither Batho Pele and Ubuntu Principles? This policy-level conflation, though formally offering separate systems to refugees and migrants, makes access so difficult as to force people to arbitrarily change between the two systems or become undocumented altogether. For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions For librarians and administrators, your personal account also provides access to institutional account management. In a template letter, employers must promise to comply with the visa issued to the asylum seeker, as well as any directives that may be issued by the Director-General from time to time regarding the employment of asylum seekers in the relevant sectors (Section 2 Form 6).

And life has just got harder for refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. Where they can accept us like human beings, because South Africa doesn't treat us like human beings," Ms Nkurukiye says. In particular, certain nationalities, especially Zimbabwean, have basically no chance of gaining refugee status in South Africa, amounting to group-based criteria for exclusion (see also Mourad & Norman, 2020). The limited counter-narrative amongst political elites to the narrative conflation, as outlined above, cements this as a form to gain domestic leverage. Society member access to a journal is achieved in one of the following ways: Many societies offer single sign-on between the society website and Oxford Academic. We are not xenophobic, it's not right what they are doing, you can't just go and put up camp everywhere around the country, it's just not right.". There is legislative, policy and narrative conflation of migrants and refugees, which result in state violence through securitization as well as grassroots level violent consequences. The lauded Refugees Act from 1998, see above, has been amended three times in 2008, 2011 and 2017. The difference is that these newer amnesties only give recipients temporary residence with no option of permanent residence regardless of length of stay in South Africa. Did you know that with a free Taylor & Francis Online account you can gain access to the following benefits? The first level of conflation comes at a legislative level. Thus, the question of a better rights-based approach to migration (and refugee protection) on the continent is also one of pan-African solidarity and identity (see also Mbembe, 2019). Local business owners and residents of Greenmarket Square, next to the church, are growing increasingly impatient.

Even though there have been several automatic renewal of permits, there is no indication how the current backlog (in addition to any new asylum seekers that may have entered the country) will be dealt with (see also Moyo etal., 2021).
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