C: Breaknews.com

South African Ambassador’s view on claims that its citizens need to seek asylum in Ireland

What many people overlook in the discussion regarding immigration, and in particular the level of dubious asylum applications, is that there is another side to the story – that of the countries from whom the persons claiming to be fleeing persecution originate.

For example, the Georgian Embassy in Dublin has made it clear that there are no grounds for any citizen of that country to be claiming political asylum. Ambassador George Zurabashvili has several times referred to the fact that the EU designates Georgia as a “safe country of origin,” and has described the applications for asylum in Ireland by his fellow countrymen (and they are almost invariably men) as “baseless.”

There is clearly a contradiction, then, between the image that is portrayed of some countries by the fact that many here claim asylum from said countries, and the reality.

The numbers from the International Protection Office here show that Ireland is receiving thousands of applications on the basis that people are under threat of persecution, or even death, on the basis of their political beliefs, ethnic origin, sexual orientation etc.

As our report on Monday pointed out, the numbers of asylum seekers coming to Ireland from South Africa is not only absurdly high in proportion to the overall numbers of South Africans claiming asylum throughout the world, but bear no relation to the political situation in that country nor to the kind of reasons typically given by the person who has applied for asylum in Ireland.

(As we showed, in 2021 there were just 382 applications for asylum in the entire world from South Africa – and 118 of those (almost a third) were in the Irish Republic?)

If people wish to come to Ireland legitimately, there is nothing stopping them as there are no restrictions on people from South Africa coming to work in Ireland. There are quite a number of South Africans working in hospitals and other parts of the health service here, for example, and in 2021 work permits were issued to 616 people coming to Ireland from South Africa for the purposes of taking up employment.

But then you have the dubious asylum applications, the vast bulk of which as we have noted are rejected. For example, there have been cases of people claiming to have been forced to flee South Africa on the basis of association with the Democratic Alliance there, which not only freely contests elections, but which won over 20% of the vote in the 2021 municipal elections and is the governing party in Cape Town.

Interestingly, while the Democratic Alliance is what used to be described as a broadly “centre right” party that favours lower state intervention in the economy, at least one of those who claims to have fled to Ireland because of an association with that party appears to support the far left here. Then again, others have claimed that they fled South Africa due to being persecuted for being gay in a country that was among the very first to legalise same sex marriage.

On that basis, I reached out to the South African Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Yolisa Maya for her view regarding: “the poor reflection that is cast on your country by those who have claimed that they had to leave South Africa as they were being persecuted or their lives were in danger.”

The Ambassador, Her Excellency Yolisa Maya, was kind enough to reply, and while she cannot comment on the internal functioning of another state, she did, in general terms, defend her own country’s position with regard to the fact that so many people from South Africa have claimed asylum in Ireland. On the basis of that, the Ambassador went on to stress:

“May I also emphasise that South Africa boasts a world-renowned comprehensive Constitution whose cornerstone is The Bill of Rights which extends protection to all people within her jurisdiction, without discrimination. As such, anyone who feels aggrieved by the violation of their rights (whether real or perceived), are welcome to avail of yet another highly regarded cornerstone of our democracy, our justice system, led from the front by our independent judiciary renowned to readily to entertain all matters brought before it, without fear or favour.”

It is ironic, therefore, that there appears to be nobody among those who would claim to be friends and allies of South Africa in Ireland, who would state the facts as Ambassador Yolisa Maya has done.

It is interesting that those who for years held up South Africa as a model for others to follow now comply through their silence with individuals who are in effect maligning that country by claiming to be in danger if returned to South Africa.

The issue of whether South Africa needs the services of such disloyal citizens is another matter, but the Irish state is certainly under no obligation to entertain them, nor ought the Irish Republic be seen to be casting aspersions on other countries by facilitating such people.

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