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ብድሆ ኣንጻር ኣተሓሳስባና


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It was the first seminar the LHR offered to the Eritrean community in South Africa apart from the day to day individual basis legal assistance and consultations. The Seminar focused, among other issues, around the following issues:

• General refugee rights in relation to the South African laws and the international refugee conventions;

• Refugee recognition procedures and the work of LHR in relation to the process;

• Government services /grants that refugees are entitled to;

• Counseling in relation to mental health problems, and access to health care;

• The importance of the new anti-torture legislation;

• LHR assistance in relation to Refugee Appeal Board rejection and the cases of those who are waiting for a decision for years and years;

• The prospect of resettlement in a third country;

• Support in relation to corruption and access problems.

• Assistance in the process of refugee ID and permanent residence applications and other relevant documentation needs of the Eritrean refugees and               asylum seekers

In the interactive discussions, the participants told the LHR experts the challenges they often face include the rejection by Refugee Status Determination Officers (RSDO) of the Department of Home Affairs. The LHR experts in turn expressed their surprise despite gross human right abuses in Eritrea. In this regard, they reaffirmed their readiness to help the Eritrean community to alleviate the challenges the Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers are facing including assistance to facilitating the permanent residence applications.

LHR further recommended that the Eritrean refugees should collectively lobby the South African government and UNHCR in order to be heard and solve their challenges. The participants also informed LHR experts that there are some agents of the Eritrean regime who are living as a refugees and asylum seekers who often threaten and disrupt the Eritrean refugees’ efforts to establish their own refugee community that can assist them to lobby for their rights. LHR experts said they also appreciate for sharing such information as it assists them to understand the Eritrean refugees’ problems and find solutions.

Finally, LHR experts stated their commitment to provide similar educational seminar frequently to the Eritrean refugees in collaboration with the EMDHR.  They also reiterated their commitment to litigate cases of the Eritrean asylum seekers and refugee in order to minimize the large number of rejections. In this regard,  the  EMDHR  expressed  its  readiness  to provide all the necessary support and information to LHR and other stakeholders who are willing to provide  support  to  Eritreans  in  South Africa.  The Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers expressed their appreciation for the support they have been provided by LHR. Similarly, the EMDHR would like to express its immense gratitude to the experts and the LHR at large for their unrelenting efforts to help asylum seekers and refugees and their collaboration with the EMDHR.

Lawyers for Human Rights are an independent human rights organization with a 30-year track record of human rights activism and public interest litigation in South Africa. LHR uses the law as a positive instrument for change and to deepen the democratization of South African society.  To this end, it provides free legal services to vulnerable, marginalized and indigent individuals and communities, both non-national and South African, who are victims of unlawful infringements of their constitutional rights.


EMDHR Refugee Protection Office

Pretoria, South Africa

05 December 2014