Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018, 09:05 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - South Africa

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2000
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - South Africa , 1 June 2000, available at: [accessed 18 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

South Africa

South Africa hosted approximately 40,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 1999. They included more than 22,000 people whose asylum applications were either pending a first-instance decision or on appeal. In 1999, South African authorities granted asylum to 6,199 people, bringing the total recognized refugee population at year's end to 14,530. Refugees came from Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan, among others.

Asylum Procedure

In 1998, South Africa enacted a Refugee Act that brought its international asylum obligations into conformity with domestic law.

South Africa's Appeal Board received an additional 12,000 applications for review. Of these, 1,359 were approved, 4,368 were rejected, and more than 5,000 were pending at the end of the year.

As in previous years, observers in 1999 expressed concerns that officials may have automatically rejected some asylum claims based on the notion that some claimants came from traditional "non-refugee producing countries," regardless of the merits of an individual's case.

South Africa received more than 1,500 asylum applications per month, in addition to large numbers of undocumented migrants. South Africa's asylum adjudication procedure provided asylum seekers rights often lacking in neighboring countries, such as freedom of movement and the right to seek employment while awaiting status determination.

Credible reports surfaced that corruption among South African asylum adjudicators forced some asylum seekers to pay bribes to facilitate their asylum applications.

Anti-foreigner sentiment across South Africa also fueled charges that undocumented economic migrants were abusing the asylum procedure. Attacks by South Africans against foreigners have killed 30 refugees in the past four years, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Search Refworld