#WorldRefugeeDay “

Inner City Gazette - - Front Page - By Staff Reporter news@in­ner-city-gazette.co.za

South Africa marks World Refugee Day in the City of Jo­han­nes­burg, which re­mains the des­ti­na­tion of choice for those who flee per­se­cu­tion from their na­tive coun­tries.

Over 500 im­mi­grants, in­clud­ing those who seek refugee sta­tus, come to the City on a monthly ba­sis. The City, through its in­clu­sive pro­grams, con­tin­ues to pro­vide qual­ity of life to all its res­i­dents, in­clud­ing full ac­cess to all its health fa­cil­i­ties and other so­cial ser­vices de­spite fis­cal chal­lenges fac­ing the city.

Cel­e­bra­tions, held at Con­sti­tu­tional Hill in Braam­fontein, re­main a sym­bol of how the City of Jo­han­nes­burg and South Africa con­tinue to work to­wards cre­at­ing a bet­ter life for all, in­clud­ing refugees.

Un­der the 1951 United Na­tions Con­ven­tion, a refugee can be a “con­ven­tion refugee” who has left their home coun­try and has a well-founded fear of per­se­cu­tion for rea­sons of race, re­li­gion, na­tion­al­ity, po­lit­i­cal opin­ion or a mem­ber­ship in a par­tic­u­lar so­cial group. The same con­ven­tion states that a refugee can also be a per­son “in need of pro­tec­tion”, whose re­moval to their home coun­try would sub­ject them to the dan­ger of tor­ture or the risk of life or cruel and un­usual treat­ment or pun­ish­ment. Mem­ber of the May­oral Com­mit­tee for the City of Jo­han­nes­burg, Dr Ntombi Khu­malo, said the World Refugee Day cel­e­bra­tions must be a re­minder of the val­ues we hold as a coun­try and what our con­sti­tu­tion states about the rights of all within our bor­ders.

“World refugee day is a sig­nif­i­cant day aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of the cir­cum­stances of refugees through­out the world, we as the City of Jo­han­nes­burg are a city that cares and our ad­min­is­tra­tion is ded­i­cated to en­sur­ing that we are sup­port­ive and sen­si­tive to the cir­cum­stances of refugees” said Khu­malo.

“Be­cause we ac­knowl­edge that peo­ple are left with no other op­tion but to leave their coun­try of ori­gin for many rea­sons that in­clude los­ing their lives, ei­ther be­cause of civil war‚ hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions‚ or nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, we par­tic­i­pated in the cel­e­bra­tions held in Braam­fontein be­cause we are a City that cares”, MMC Khu­malo added.

The city has also es­tab­lished a fo­rum - Joburg Mi­gra­tion Ad­vi­sory Panel - which is made up of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, civil so­ci­ety and city de­part­ments who meet monthly to look at chal­lenges that mi­grants are faced with and pos­si­ble ways of ad­dress­ing these chal­lenges.

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