For many years South Africa has been a safe home for nearly 6,000 Angolan refugees mainly living in Cape Town or the Western Cape. Some of them settled in South Africa since 1993 and were amongst the first group of foreign nationals to be declared refugees under the 1998 Refugees Act. In 2009, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recommended that refugee status be ended worldwide for Angolans who fled Angola from 1961 – 2002 due to the war of independence and the subsequent civil war, on the basis that peace and stability had returned to the country. The government of South Africa followed suit by committing itself to implement international recommendations and assisting Angolan refugees to return to their home country through a process of cessation of refugee status (DHA, 2012).
The main purpose of this study is to empirically assess the cessation process of Angolan refugee status in South Africa, with a focus on the procedures followed at the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office. The study will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodology. It is the first time that South Africa implemented the cessation clauses since the Refugees Act came into effect in 2000. Internationally, UNHCR had in recent years recommended the cessation of refugee status for a number of former refugee-sending countries, including Liberia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. This study is expected to reflect on the implementation of the cessation process, the lessons learnt and provide relevant suggestions and recommendations for future consideration.
- To explore domestic and international legislation applied to cessation of Angolan refugees’ status in South Africa
- To analyze the role of the South African government, Angolan government, UNHCR and relevant civil society organisations involved in the Angolan cessation process in South Africa
- To understand the impact of the cessation on the affected Angolan community
- To better understand ‘repatriation’ and the process of decision-making
- To offer policy recommendations for future cessation processes, based on lessons derived from the Angolan experience.
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This post was written by Mike