Thursday, 5 May 2011

Caught between Zimbabwe and SA

Roughly 100 Somali refugees are stranded on the Zim side of the BeitBridge border post after South Africa refused them entry. It is unclear exactly why South African immigration officials refused them entry, although this story suggests that the South Africans may have been refusing them access because they are undocumented, that Ethiopian and Somali refugees were previously vetted on the Zimbabwean side of the border before attempting to enter South Africa. Another story suggests that changes to South African immigration law that came into effect on 29 April mean that the country will no longer accept undocumented refugees. What is clear is that at least some of these refugees are suffering from severe malaria. 10 have been treated at There appears to be concern that the malaria could spread to the rest of the population. There are plans to round up the refugees and take them to a refugee camp in Zimbabwe.

South Africa is a common destination for African refugees because it has a large and fast-growing economy and is stable, but the country has recently begun enacting a series of laws intended to significantly limit refugee and asylum-seeker access to the country.

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