Insiders but Outsiders: The Struggle for the Inclusion of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in South Africa

M. Florencia Belvedere

Abstract


This article examines the politics of urban refugees in South Africa. It shows that despite South Africa’s adoption of an encompassing rights-regarding legal framework that has the potential to be inclusive towards asylum seekers and refugees in the country and afford them basic human rights and protection, asylum seekers and refugees nonetheless remain “internally excluded,” predominantly as a result of practices adopted by a nationalist Department of Home Affairs to implement refugee legislation and by the UNHCR in its quest to prioritize the safeguarding of the institution of asylum. The article also shows how the adoption of these practices has been facilitated by a construction of asylum seekers and refugees as “bogus” claimants who have no place in post-apartheid South Africa.

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