The ‘first safe country” principle affects the admission and recognition of asylum-seekers. This brief considers the history of the principle and its impact on international and domestic law.

LHR has drafted a briefing paper outlining the need for South Africa to sign and domesticate both the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This briefing was presented to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on the 11th August 2011.

LHR has considered the legal position as well as South Africa's obligations when rejecting asylum seekers who have passed through another safe country without applying for asylum in that country.

The Public Protector has compiled a report based on her investigation on allegations of failure to register the birth of a child and the naturalisation of the mother by the Northern Cape Department of Home Affairs.

Birth registration is a human right. It represents the starting point for the recognition of a person’s legal existence and is thus the key to the realisation of nearly all other fundamental rights and practical needs. Human rights are universal. Children born to asylum-seekers, refugees and undocumented foreigners hold this right equally to children of citizens. South Africa has made a clear commitment to these principles through ratification of the relevant human rights treaties, as well as through constitutional and other legal standards. To be sure that we honour this commitment, it is important that all children born on the territory are issued with a birth certificate without discrimination as to their or their parents’ legal status in this country.

LHR’s Detention Monitoring Programme has been monitoring the arrest, detention and deportation of foreign nationals at local detention centres, primarily the Lindela Holding Facility and the Musina Detention Centre, this report is based on LHR’s findings through its consultations with detainees, and its ongoing litigation brought against the Department in the period from January 2009 to August 2010.

A report released by the Forced Migration Studies Programme at Wits University titled “Protection and Pragmatism: Addressing Administrative Failures in South Africa’s Refugee Status Determination Decisions” identifies serious flaws in South Africa’s refugee status determination process.

LHR has brought a number of high profile cases in the 2008/9 period. In the Zimabawean Exiles Forum matter, LHR sought the release of several Zimbabwean human rights activists who were arrested and threatened with deportation following a protest against the arms shipment to Zimbabwe that took place at the gates of the Chinese Embassy.

The purpose of this booklet is to provide an overview of LHR’s litigation activities and our role in public interest litigation in South Africa. The booklet has been designed thematically and looks at past LHR cases with a view of planning for future projects and activities to develop human rights jurisprudence in South Africa.

The exodus of Zimbabweans into neighbouring countries is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities for the region, yet Southern African countries are struggling to respond appropriately. A new study by the Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) at the University of the Witwatersrand finds that the humanitarian nature of Zimbabwean migration blurs the traditional distinctions between refugees and economic migrants. However, official responses to Zimbabwean migration in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique are still premised on this distinction and so are failing to protect both Zimbabweans and the citizens of neighbouring countries.