Ruling offers children seeking asylum greater protection
Children seeking asylum will now be included in their caregiver’s application‚ regardless of whether they are biological relatives‚ Lawyers for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law said. This follows a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday that all children entering South Africa with an relative applying for asylum will be a regarded as a dependent of the caregiver‚ just as biological children are.A case was bought before the court involving a 16-year-old orphan boy who had fled the armed conflict in the Congo with his aunt. Because he was not her biological child he was excluded from her asylum seeker permit. He was qualified to apply for asylum but had no papers.The ruling means these children will get “immediate protection and are not separated from people with whom they have a relationship”‚ the two organisations said in a statement.Karabo Ozah of the Centre for Child Law said‚ “These are the people that they know and love‚ who have risked everything to take them to safety. The judge recognised that in African culture people do not stop to say – is this my biological child? They say‚ ‘I must look after my sister’s children as if they are my own’.” Jacob van Garderen‚ the director Lawyers for Human Rights‚ said he welcomed the judgment‚ noting that children in this situation would all have an asylum claim in their own right.