The current crisis of quality refugee adjudication by the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB) will today, on World Refugee Day, come under the legal spotlight in the High Court in Pretoria.
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), representing the Somali Association of South Africa, will argue a case in which members of the association are seeking protection under the law.
The association will ask the court for an order aimed at identifying and addressing the problems within the Refugee Appeal Board’s decision-making process.
The association contends the RAB judgments reflect a pattern of unlawful and inadequate decision-making. They maintain that on the face of their cases, there appeared to be a trend of four common errors that were consistently applied by the RAB.
This included the misinterpretation and misapplication of the test for refugee status, in particular to Section 3(b) of the Refugees Act; applying the wrong burden of proof for asylum for applicants; and applying the wrong approach in assessing claims.
The association contends that the RAB failed to apply the legal principle underlying procedural fairness and giving refugees a chance to be heard.
LHR said the result of these errors resulted in vulnerable individuals failing to access legally valid refugee protection.