Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


This paper examines the extent to which African States have cemented their commitments to protect persons forced to flee from their home states owing to armed conflict and/or persecution. Using South Africa as a case study, this paper examines the experience of refugees and asylum seekers at the hands of South African Police. Two central issues are, first, the identity documents that are issued to asylum seekers and refugees coming to South Africa, and second, the constitutional rights to privacy and security, which are promised to all. It is contended that although law enforcement officials are generally required by law to protect every person in society, citizens and non-citizens alike, the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers at the hands of SAP show a considerable distance between theory and practice. Ultimately, the divergence between the legal standards and the reality of refuges and asylum seekers coming to South Africa undermines their right to enjoy asylum. In conclusion, this paper argues that, in order to ensure the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, more is required than the mere passage of legislation.