PRESS STATEMENT | LHR acting for Scalabrini Centre in SCA on successive applications for asylum

Date: 07/09/2023

Lawyers for Human Rights will be representing Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town as amicus curiae (friend of the court) today at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, in the case of A.I. & Another v Director of Asylum Seekers Management: Department of Home Affairs & 4 Others.

The main issue in this matter is whether an asylum seeker can make another application for asylum under the Refugees Act 130 of 1998 after their previous applications were rejected.

The appellants are two Burundian nationals whose initial applications for asylum were rejected. They argue that are entitled to lodge a subsequent application and bring forward information that would show that they have refugee sur place claims. They are appealing a decision of the Western Cape High Court, which held that an asylum seeker has no clear right to resubmit an application for refugee status after it has been refused.

The appellants argue that the right to non-refoulement allows them the right to make subsequent applications. The right to non-refoulement – an essential protection under international human rights law – prevents states from returning someone to their country of origin when there are substantial grounds to believe that this person would be at risk of harm upon their return, including persecution, torture, ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations.

The Scalabrini Centre seeks to assist the court by arguing that the complexity, and ever-changing nature of conflict in war-ridden countries, means that an asylum system must be complex, dynamic and agile. This, coupled with the fact that the principle of non-refoulement is absolute and unconditional, and so a person cannot be sent back to a country where they may risk persecution and harm, means that an asylum seeker must be entitled to make a subsequent application for asylum.

For more information, contact:

  • Nabeelah Mia, LHR Head: Penal Reform Programme | Tel: +27 11 339 1960
  • James Chapman, Scalabrini Head of Advocacy & Legal Advisor | Tel: +27 21 465 6433
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