South Africa is seen as a major destination for refugees and asylum-seekers and is, according to the 2010 Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the world’s highest destination country for asylum-seekers, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa. Following the 1994 democratic elections, there was a transformation in foreign policy, embracing the African Agenda, and South Africa became a major country of destination because of its relative prosperity in Africa. As a State Party to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees, South Africa is under a legal obligation to protect refugees and grant them legal rights. At the same time, South African citizens, who had legitimate aspirations that the 1994 democratic government would address their development challenges, opposed the significant flow of refugees into the country by violent acts of xenophobia. The government, seen as a moral authority internationally with human rights being a key principle underpinning its foreign policy, found itself between the promotion of the African Agenda and its commitments to its own citizens. The refugee issue was addressed in the United Nations where the government made multilateral diplomacy a central platform of its foreign policy, a policy embedded in Africa and the South. South Africa is used as a case study to determine how it used multilateral diplomacy in the United Nations refugee regime through its coalition, the African Group, to address the migration issue. The study draws out the weaknesses of the international refugee regime by discussing the roles of two important diplomatic actors: the sovereign states in the United Nations General Assembly, and the international organization mandated to supervise the international refugee regime, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. South Africa’s foreign policy objective of promoting the African Agenda at times conflicts with the promotion of its national interest. Its progressive Constitution (1996) provides economic, social, and cultural rights to refugees, to the resentment of its own citizens, who view the refugees as beneficiaries of the United Nations. The study provides a critical analysis of South Africa’s multilateral diplomacy, and also provides the following recommendations where South Africa could use this mode more effectively to address the migration issue: Reform the international refugee regime; Allocate funds from the United Nations regularly assessed budget to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and, Develop an international normative regulatory framework for irregular migrants.
Dissertation (MDiplomatic Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2012.
Tewolde, Amanuel Isak(University of Pretoria, 2014)
This research study explores how ten Eritrean refugees living in Pretoria, South Africa, make sense of their refugee identity in individual interviews. Discursive analysis was employed as a methodology to capture the ...
Stevens, G.P. (Geert Philip); Eberechi, Oghenerioborue Esther(Pretoria University Law Press, 2019)
This article analysed article 16 of the United Nation convention relating to
the status of refugees 1951, which provides free access to courts in the
contracting states for all refugees, in relation to victims of sexual ...