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Surely human rights awards should go to successful asylum applicants?

The decision by the body representing Irish barristers to present a human rights award to the Movement for Asylum Seekers in Ireland has led to some comment.

This is mostly due to the fact that the spokesperson for MASI, Bulelani Mfaco, who accepted the award, has had his initial claims for asylum here refused as he was found not to fulfill the requirements for asylum in Ireland.

He used his speech to the legal elite to compare the position of people in Direct Provision to industrial schools and mothers and babies homes. This is all designed to trigger the predictable liberal nodding-head response.

His attempt to blame the “Irish state” for the abuse – which he refers to as having taken place in Direct Provision centres – is rather tenuous. If anything, the fact that residents are attacked or groomed by other asylum seekers is an argument that we need stricter, not laxer, controls on migration.

The Bar of Ireland’s human rights chairperson Joseph O’Sullivan described MASI as a “grassroots organisation that has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Mfaco is apparently awaiting a review of his case. He has claimed to be afraid to return to South Africa because he might be in danger as a “queer man,” and he has also referred to his having been involved in housing activism – although it is not clear whether he has presented that as another reason for not going home.

Which is exactly what MASI and the Irish liberal and leftist NGO and political lobby want to happen, and indeed have succeeded in making happen, as plans are in place now to abolish Direct Provision and allow anyone who manages to get past the point of entry to not only stay here, but to be provided with a guarantee of public provision including housing and social welfare.

South Africa is not a country where people are likely to be subject to state harassment, much less persecution or murder, on any of the grounds given by Mfaco. Indeed, the Democratic Alliance – which could reasonably be described as a centre-right liberal party – took over 5 million votes in South Africa’s municipal elections in November, and is the biggest party in the Cape.

Likewise, there is full legal recognition and protection of the entire menu of LGBT+ demands in South Africa including same sex marriage and gender identity. Apart from all of that, South Africa is deemed to be a safe country , and therefore not one where it is considered that anyone is in the kind of danger which forms the basis for a reason for seeking asylum in Ireland.

The fact that the Irish liberal left makes such an issue of South African asylum seekers is laughable really, considering the esteem in which that country under the rule of the African National Congress is generally held by them. What exactly are those who come here fleeing, one might ask?

It is also worth pointing out that the Irish legal profession has been a huge beneficiary of all of this. The legal fees for the asylum appeals tribunal came to over €28 million between 2008 and 2019. This, along with the vast amount of taxpayers’ money that goes to fund an array of migration and asylum-linked groups.

I have political differences with Dublin City Council, but I can’t see anyone on Betfair matching me at any price if I was to rock up to immigration at JFK in New York and ask for international protection and a house in Yonkers. Khamule has joined other leftist activists at Comlámh where he is now one of the directors.

Look, one could write a book about all of this. There are people in Ireland genuinely in need of protection and whose lives would be in danger if they are returned to their country of origin. No one is arguing against that.

However, the case is being made for those who comprise the majority of applicants who are, in fact, from countries which are not designated as unsafe, and that serves only to undermine genuine asylum seekers.

Acting to protect the human rights of others is laudable, but given that many of the members of MASI would personally benefit from a relaxation of immigration law, there is a question to be asked about the balance between protecting the human rights of others and helping yourself.


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