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All Roads Lead to Rejection, Persistent Bias and Incapacity in South African Refugee Status Determination
Despite recent attempts by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to improve service provision, the refugee and asylum system remains rife with problems. As part of a series of reports examining DHA policies, practices, and adherence to the law in the asylum system, this report examines the quality of status determination decisions in accordance with the requirements of international and domestic refugee law, as well as legislation relating to the constitutional right to fair administrative action.
The report reveals a Department that is failing to fulfil its core mandate with respect to the asylum system—identifying individuals in need of protection under refugee law. As a result, many asylum seekers face the risk of refoulement: being returned to an area where they face persecution or a threat to life or liberty. The report also highlights a government department that is largely failing to adhere to the standards of administrative justice and to act in accordance with its legal obligations. Beyond compromising the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, the existence of a government department that flouts the legislation which it is obligated to implement has serious implications for the rule of law, good governance, and service delivery.