South Africa: SAHRC and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees formalize their partnership

The ties between the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) were formalized and strengthened after the two entities signed a memorandum of understanding for the promotion , defense and protection of human rights in asylum. – applicants, refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons living in the country.

The South African Human Rights Commission said the deal would pave the way for increased cooperation between the two entities.

“The memorandum of understanding [Memorandum of Understanding] enables information sharing, protection interventions on individual cases, consultations, knowledge exchange, as well as cooperation on projects that promote the human rights of persons of concern to UNHCR and SAHRC. Among the joint commitments, the SAHRC and UNHCR will advocate for progressive policies, legislation, processes and practices for the protection and promotion of human rights, ”SAHRC said on Wednesday.

According to the SAHRC, together the organizations will promote social cohesion and also “advocate for the inclusion of people of concern to UNHCR” in South Africa‘s national protection plans.

UNHCR defines a person of concern as an asylum seeker, refugee, internally displaced person or person without state status.

“Through the MoU, SAHRC and UNHCR will participate in initiatives that promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence between foreigners and South African nationals. In addition, research projects will be carried out to advance the human rights of all persons of concern, the committee said.

The UNHRC representative in South Africa, Leonard Zulu, stressed that the two organizations share similarities in their work for the realization and enjoyment of basic human rights.

“Human rights are central to the regime for the protection of people forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and violence. The congruence of our respective mandates is obvious. A person applying for international protection does so when he is no longer in a position to have national protection. from their countries of origin.

“In order to protect this individual, it naturally follows that the person concerned must enjoy fundamental and fundamental human rights in the host country. Unfortunately, very often this does not happen automatically. It is then up to institutions like ours to advocate for their name, “he said.

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