UN New York Declaration

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Yesterday, the 19th of September 2016, world leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants – a declaration that expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants.

By adopting the New York Declaration, UN Member States are making bold commitments to: develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; start negotiations of an international conference and the adoption of a global agreement for safe and orderly migration in 2018; and lastly, to hold more responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.

Within the New York Declaration, a joint initiative aimed at increasing private sponsorship of refugees has been agreed upon between the Government of Canada, the Open Society Foundations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since the 1970’s, the Canadian government has promoted the resettlement of more than 275,000 privately sponsored refugees, and even currently helping to support and integrate many refugees in Canada’s recent Syrian resettlement program. Privately sponsored refugees have been shown to have positive settlement results as well as relatively early integration within the communities due to the increased support from their private sponsors. Using Canada as a model, the United Nations hopes to increase private sponsorship of refugees throughout the globe.

In addition to the New York Declaration, the Secretary-General of the United Nations also launched a new campaign as a response to the rising xenophobia called: “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The campaign highlights the economic, cultural and social contributions that migrants and refugees make to countries of origin, transit and destination. It will also counter misinformation and misperception of refugees and migrant by encouraging contact between migrants, refugees and those in the destination countries. He urged world leaders and UN member states to join this campaign as a commitment of upholding the rights and dignity of all refugees searching for a better life.

Want to read more about this? Use the following links:

http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=1&nid=1126819

http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/

https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/together

New Internship Opportunities!

PASSOP relies heavily on the diverse backgrounds, knowledge and skills of its volunteers and interns. At any given time, there are usually 4-7 interns and volunteers working with us, mostly students from the United States, Europe and South Africa. Their roles and tasks vary and are designed to match their own expertise and interests, as well as PASSOP’s priority needs and campaigns at different times.

What you need to Volunteer/ Intern

To intern at PASSOP, a background or strong interest in one or more of the following areas is recommended: law, human rights, migration issues, political science, development studies and journalism. We are looking for highly motivated and dynamic young people who are passionate and fearless in standing up and fighting for the rights of the vulnerable, the poor and the marginalised.

If you are interested in volunteering at PASSOP, please send us your application form and let us know what motivates you to want to get involved with PASSOP.

Current Internships:

LGBTI Refugee Program and Fundraising Intern

PASSOP is looking for someone passionate about LGBTI rights who understands the complexities of being an LGBTI person living in a new country and the challenges that brings.

The LGBTI Refugee Program Intern would help run the support group and monthly skills-training program as well as give suggestions on how to improve the program. They would also assist with fundraising to help the program members obtain legal documentation.

You must be a self-starter and have experience working with people. Previous experience in social work, with human rights/social justice organizations a plus, as well as grant writing or fundraising experience.

Skills:

-Capacity to multi-task and ability to prioritize across multiple projects
-Strong computer skills (e.g., Microsoft Word & Excel, Google apps)
-Ability to work in a team environment
-Strong organizational skills
-Experience working or studying abroad a plus

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
3 – 6 months
Please send a CV and cover letter to: interns.passop@gmail.com

Fundraising/PR intern

The Fundraising/PR intern must passionate about human rights/social justice. They must have experience in at least one of the following: managing fundraising events, grant writing that has led to funding for an organisation, experience of working with NGO’s or non-profit organisations and/or setting up a donor base.

The intern will focus mainly on obtaining funds for PASSOP, assist with processing donations, Assist with the implementation of event logistics and planning, writing grants, and improving and keeping relationships to other NGOs, organisations and donors. They will also have the chance to work within whichever specific program they feel (please see our website for our current programs).

Skills:

-Experience or interest in event management and fundraising
– Strong communication and collaboration skills to interact with other NGOs
-Capacity to multi-task and ability to prioritize across multiple projects
-Strong computer skills (e.g., Microsoft Word & Excel, Google apps)
-Ability to work in a team environment
-Strong organisational skills
-Experience working or studying abroad a plus

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
3 – 6 months
Please send a CV and cover letter to: interns.passop@gmail.com

Social media and marketing intern

PASSOP is looking for an enthusiastic intern who is willing to take control and manage multiple social media platforms within the organisation. The intern must have good communication skills and have had a background within social media as well as an interest for NGOs or human rights organisations.

The intern will focus mainly on organising PASSOP’s Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin, as well as replying to comments and emails on all social media platforms.

Skills:

-Experience or interest in social media and marketing
-Capacity to multi-task and ability to prioritize across multiple projects and social media platforms
-Strong computer skills (e.g., Microsoft Word & Excel, Facebook, website design, Instagram, Twitter, Google apps)
-Ability to work in a team environment
-Strong organisational skills
-Experience working or studying abroad a plus

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
3 – 6 months
Please send a CV and cover letter to: interns.passop@gmail.com

Colours of Cape Town: Solidarity with the LGBTI refugee community

Passop_Poster

PASSOP is hosting a community-building and awareness-raising event on Saturday July 23rd. The aim is to promote understanding and tolerance, as well as further the integration of LGBTI refugees into the larger LGBTI community here in Cape Town. Our hope is that the event will encourage LGBTI refugee rights activism, empower the community, and be educational for those outside the community. The latter being extremely important for the safety of this very marginalized population. There will be an array of speakers:

-People who work directly with the community speaking on the specific challenges LGBTI refugees face
-LGBTI refugees who will selflessly share their personal stories
-Community leaders who will promote the message of empowerment

We will also showcase an exhibition of award winning photographer Robin Hammond’s “Where Love is Illegal” project. http://whereloveisillegal.com/

The event will be free and open to the public. Among those encouraged to attend will be: Police, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Labor, community leaders, church leaders, LGBTI organizations, and South African media.

Please RSVP to the facebook link: Colours of Cape Town

COLORS OF CAPE TOWN: Solidarity with LGBTI refugees

In many African countries, LGBTI people are persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Homosexuality is illegal in 38 of the 54 African countries, and four countries enforce the death penalty for persons who identify as homosexual or transgender. African LGBTI people in extreme danger in their home country flee to South Africa to find refuge, as their constitution is the most progressive in the region. However, the lived reality after arrival is far from desirable.

LGBTI refugees face extreme challenges after relocating to South Africa. They are doubly marginalized, as they are not accepted into their own refugee communities because of their sexual orientation/gender identity nor are they accepted into LGBTI communities because they are foreigners. They encounter homophobia, xenophobia, violence, discrimination, and abuse by the general population, their own refugee communities, as well as the police and government officials. They struggle to find employment due to lack of proper documentation (which is often denied to them based on their sexual orientation/gender identity) or they are fired once their sexuality (or in some cases HIV status) is revealed. Many are kicked out of shelters, rejected from housing, and denied medical services all because of homophobia.

This must end.

COLORS OF CAPE TOWN: Solidarity with LGBTI Refugees

PASSOP is hosting a community-building and awareness-raising event on Saturday July 23rd. The aim is to promote understanding and tolerance, as well as further the integration of LGBTI refugees into the larger LGBTI community here in Cape Town. There will be an array of speakers:

-People who work directly with the community speaking on the specific challenges LGBTI refugees face

-LGBTI refugees who will selflessly share their personal stories

-Community leaders who will promote the message of empowerment

Exhibition of award winning photographer Robin Hammond’s “Where Love is Illegal” project http://whereloveisillegal.com/

The event will be free and open to the public. Among those encouraged to come will be: Police, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Labor, community leaders, church leaders, LGBTI organizations, South African media.

Our hope is that the event will encourage LGBTI refugee rights activism, empower the community, and be educational for those outside the community.

Please join us at:

The Nest
129 Longmarket Street
Saturday July 23
6pm – 10pm

Free food, cash bar

Lesotho Permit Extended

South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has extended the deadline for the Lesotho special permit. After receiving an underwhelming amount of permits, the Minister has extended the deadline to September 30, 2016. There are more than 400,000 Basotho’s living in South Africa who are undocumented, but have the potential to receive documentation from the government. This program will pardon those who are in possession of falsified documents and will receive legal documents. This permit program is essential to obtaining legal documents and should be utilized by all.

To read more about the permit, please click here.

Important Notice for Asylum Seekers

ATTENTION ASYLUM SEEKERS:

On 7 June 2016 the LRC received a let­ter from the attor­neys for the Depart­ment of Home Affairs inform­ing us that they will be appeal­ing the order granted in our favour on 3 June 2016.

That let­ter also indi­cated that the LRC should inform its clients that none of their per­mits will be extended at the Cape Town Refugee Recep­tion Office (CTRRO) and none of their files will be trans­ferred while the appeal is still pend­ing.

The order given in the Nbaya case ordered the Cape Town RRO to renew the per­mits of asy­lum seek­ers whose per­mits were first applied for at other RROs (Pre­to­ria, Musina and Dur­ban). It specif­i­cally said that the CTRRO must renew the per­mits of those asy­lum seek­ers that had approached the LRC’s offices, and whose names were on a list of over 2 500 peo­ple that had been sub­mit­ted to the court by the LRC. It also said that the CTRRO must do the same for ‘all per­sons sim­i­larly sit­u­ated’.

If this order was car­ried out, it would effec­tively mean that the CTRRO must renew the per­mit of any­one enti­tled to a renewal, even if that per­mit was not first issued in Cape Town.

The let­ter from the Depart­ment of Home Affairs attor­neys indi­cates that the CTRRO will not be doing that.

An appeal can take a num­ber of months as it will more than likely go to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloem­fontein. It first has to be granted an appeal date in Bloem­fontein, then the appeal will have to be attended and argued by both the LRC and the attor­neys for the Depart­ment. There­after, the SCA judges will have to deliver a judg­ment, which isn’t likely to be on the same day as the appeal hear­ing.

In the time that it takes for all of that to hap­pen, the fastest and only way that an asy­lum seeker with a per­mit first issued out­side of Cape Town will be able to renew his or her per­mit is for that per­son to travel back to their orig­i­nal RRO and renew their per­mit there.

In the mean­time, the LRC intends apply­ing to the Court for a spe­cific order that says that Home Affairs must imple­ment the order while their appeal is pend­ing. Once this is done, we will update accord­ingly.

World Refugee Day 2016

Human rights organization PASSOP welcomes World Refugee Day as we commend the courage of those forced to flee their countries as a result of war, oppression, persecution and other human rights violations. The UNHCR Global Trend report states that currently 6.5 million people are forced to flee their homes. We celebrate the global community’s efforts in working towards securing the rights and safety of displaced peoples.

Today, we struggle with addressing the rights of people who are forced to flee their country of origin. The long-standing debate continues over who qualifies as a refugee. This reality severely hampers the humanitarian efforts aimed at protecting and defending the lives of displaced peoples around the world. The UNHCR defines a refugee as someone “who has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.” It is imperative to highlight that the narrow definition of refugee has made it difficult for the displaced to receive basic human rights. Those forced to migrate due to economic issues and climate change rarely receive proper documentation. As a result, those who are not granted refugee status are detained, deported, or denied healthcare, education and the proper permits to work.

At a time when those seeking refugee status is at a record high it is of the upmost importance to shine a light on the world’s progress in fighting for the rights and safety of all displaced people. We applaud not only the nations, but also their citizens who have opened their doors to refugees in order to allow them a safe space to dream again. We at PASSOP would like to take the opportunity, to express our love and admiration for each and everyone one of these heroes. Further, on this World Refugee Day, we challenge everyone to stand together as a beacon of light to those oppressed and persecuted everywhere so that they understand they are not alone, and the world can become a brighter place.