COORDINATING BODY OF REFUGEE & MIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Don’t be a Victim, Know your Rights !
Be a Responsible Citizen, Know your Obligations !
COORDINATING BODY OF REFUGEE & MIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Don’t be a Victim, Know your Rights !
Be a Responsible Citizen, Know your Obligations !
COORDINATING BODY OF REFUGEE & MIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Don’t be a Victim, Know your Rights !
Be a Responsible Citizen, Know your Obligations !

ACTIVITIES

 

Among other things, CBRC's daily activities as highlighted in its yearly plan include:

• Monitoring of the Lindela detention/Repatriation centre and other places of detention in a bid to ensure that our constituency (refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants) fully enjoy the rights entitled to any detainee under the bill of rights and other international instruments signed by the Republic of South Africa .

• Offering paralegal consultations to refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants and refer cases to appropriate and relevant service providers.

• To liaise with relevant South African government officials and other interested institutions to ensure that plights of refugees and asylum seekers and other migrants are known and included on the agenda to be effectively and efficiently attended to.

• Conducting Awareness campaigns on migrants' children' rights to education which include placement into public schools as well as recommendation letters for school fees exemption for those most deserving (the neediest among the needy).

• To proactively participate in events, conferences, workshops or meetings that are of interest to the organisation and the communities it serves as to always put the plights of migrants on the agenda.

• To organize and conduct workshop and training which are essential for community mobilisation.

• To engage, through partnership, into Peace Initiatives and Anti-Xenophobia Campaigns in a bid to promote social cohesion between migrant communities and the local communities.

• To monitor refugee and migrant service providers besides the Refugee Reception Offices and Places of Detention.

• Organise and commemorate the World Refugee Day (WRD)

• Organise and commemorate Human Rights Day

Last but not the least, though highly circumstantial, we look for individuals, organisations to collect food hampers, blankets, temporary shelter and other basic commodities for the very neediest within both the migrant and local South African communities.

Achievements

1998 has been a decisive year for the future of refugees and asylum seekers in the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Immediately after the collapse of the Gauteng Refugee Forum (GRF) due to in-house self interest based conflicts, refugees felt abandoned to their gloomiest moment in their uncertain future. Luckily, this disorganisation of the GRF was earlier perceived as a challenge rather than an insurmountable and already sealed ill-fate. That was the first step towards a critical awareness and awakening campaign for self-reliance. People aware of the danger of acting loosely had to come together through intense community leadership and mobilising workshops. The fact of having refugee communities structured and organised was a key achievement, a determining factor that enabled a smooth organisational liaison among refugee communities and any refugee service provider.

Being a lobby and advocacy centred organisation, CBRC has based most of its work on the campaigns for the awareness of the plights of refugees. Among these plights, one could mention the access to education. Due to misinterpretation of the then refugee act and/or xenophobia, most refugee children were denied access to school. With the help of the South African Human Rights Commission, the ban for refugee children to access education after being granted a refugee status was lifted by the minister of education after the case of a Congolese child living in Benoni was challenged. Even if some refugee children might be out of school due mostly to financial problems faced by their parents, the category of refugee documents they hold is no longer a determining factor for their access to education.

Aware of the necessity to maximise the chances of the children to be enrolled in public schools having governing bodies, CBRC thought of engaging the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) in the placement process thus recommending these children to different public schools. The shortfall of this process has been that most of the learners have dropped off from school due to lack of finance.

Xenophobic attacks were at a certain era directed towards non nationals, more particularly Africans. These notorious attacks included housebreaking whereby refugees represented a soft target group. Having nowhere else to hide their daily income but in the pillows of their bedrooms, the perpetrators used to loot all their savings. To put an end to such a practice, CBRC entered into long and yet painstaking enterprise to negotiate with the First National Bank (FNB) to contribute to fight this type of crime, allowing refugees to bank with them, opening savings accounts. After almost two years, FNB agreed to go through a one – year experimental phase that was very conclusive. We should remind our readers that all these candidates for this trial were all recommended by CBRC and that it still holds a record of that operation which benefited other immigrants as well. The evaluation after a year experiment proved conclusive and created a mutual trust between FNB and the CBRC constituency. Although banking requirements to access banking are getting tougher and tougher, not only other banks are but timidly and selectively opening their doors to refugees but also, FNB is still offering its services to refugees mostly those with Identity Documents (ID) – that remain a real nightmare for refugees to access most of the services, public and private alike.

Before access to banking deservingly championed by FNB, there has been a series of recognition of the organisation. To mention a few, CBRC was invited by the presidency of the RSA to the National Conference against Racism and Xenophobia held in Sandton. CBRC was a member of the Steering Committee of the World Conference against Racism and related discriminations held in Durban . The New Africans, a CBRC newspaper, was a support medium for the civil society at this world conference. While the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) had not officially recognised CBRC as the new born in the refugee affairs, it initiated a reconciliation meeting between JRS (the Jesuit Refugee Service) and CBRC to iron out certain vital differences. Immediately after, CBRC was invited to the UNHCR Sub regional Head office in Pretoria for series of meeting. Since then CBRC has always been invited to the planning meetings of the UNHCR. CBRC has been an Executive Member of NCRA (National Consortium on Refugee Affairs) since 2005. We should also mention that we received the then Under Secretary of State from the USA at our temporary head office in Yeoville, 59 Page Street . This was the headquarter of the Ivorian / Côte d'Ivoire community that hosted the CBRC activities for more than one year.

To support its campaigns CBRC ventured into the written media. The first publication was the New Africans. Its second attempt was the African Diaspora; all projects did not expand to lack of resources. To date, CBRC is now using the IT support as recommended by the current necessity of info dispatching in this technology era. This website will also offer info about all the other CIVCOM members scattered in the sub region.

Since 2000, CBRC has been organising its own Refugee Day or with some of its partners. During this event, CBRC does what it does the best, to lobby and advocate for the cause of its constituency. Special guests include academics, prominent civil society members and some politicians.

Recently CBRC together with the Refugee Ministries have embarked into an educational joint venture. We think that education is the key to freedom as goes the saying, “knowledge is power”. Although this project has not yet been effectively operating, the management of the Sacred Heart College agreed to host the refugee school at primary level that will be streamlined in the Sacred Heart High School /College. We hope that some other people of goodwill will join in this project to make a success.

CBRC did not forget about its youth. The All African Stars, the CBRC soccer team sponsored by the Samora …… competed and beat some of the best teams in Gauteng . Unfortunately, due to the lack of support most of our athletes are not in the sporting arena to exhibit their savoir-faire. We still have many talents who cannot make it on their own in this capitalist, world global village.

As an African saying would go, “do not eat a bird and break its head”. The unsaid remains and we would probably be forced to talk about it in the future.

Although too ambitious, we want people of goodwill to join in our mission statement and help us make it a reality and therefore a legacy for the generations to come.

Yours in catastrophe management in Southern African

CBRMC Management

 

Activities Overview

• Offering paralegal consultations to refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants and refer cases to appropriate and relevant service providers.

  • • Conducting Awareness campaigns on migrants' children' rights to education which include placement into public schools as well as recommendation letters for school fees exemption for those most deserving (the neediest among the needy). Read more

Contact Us

In South Africa

Address: Office: 14 Durham Street Cnr. Albertina Sisulu Avenue, Kensington 2094
Telephone: +27 (0) 11 333 6599
Cell: +27 +27 76 916 7162/ 73 558 7606
FAX: +27 (0) 86 600 1000
E-mail: info@cbrmc.org