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Cape Town - Asylum-seeker rejection rates could be higher in South Africa than in any other country, says the immigrants rights organisation People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop).
According to the Home Affairs 2012/13 annual report, the department received 78 142 applications for asylum but only one in every 20 was approved.
Braam Hanekom, director of Passop, said the rejection rate could not get any worse.
“This is the highest rejection rate in the world right now,” he said.
“When processing asylum-seekers, it must be done in such a way that it allows them a fair opportunity for refugee status.”
He said the credibility of the process was questionable and worrying. “More consideration needs to be given with the high number of applicants.
“It undermines the global norms and standards set.
“It’s also strange to us that in South Africa, which is closer to these conflict areas, the rejection rate is higher than European countries.”
Ronnie Mamoepa, Home Affairs spokesman, said asylum-seekers could appeal if their applications were rejected.
“Once the application is rejected and they appeal, it goes into the system and they have to wait for the appeal date. If the appeal is rejected then it is over for them and they have to leave.”
A total of 36 657 cases were rejected as manifestly unfounded, abusive or fraudulent and 24 520 cases were rejected as “unfounded”.
According to the report, 3 908 asylum claims were approved, and the successful applicants issued with formal recognition of refugee status permits.