Reunification of the Refugee Family in South Africa: A Legal Right?
Keywords:South Africa, family unity, family reunification, refugee law, human rights, international human rights law
Family unity is not considered a right within international refugee instruments and as a result the laws and policies of most states are silent in this regard. Family unity is however a legal concept which is addressed extensively in various other international law instruments. This paper contends that refugee law as a dynamic body of law is informed by these international law instruments and it should not be viewed as an isolated body of law and be denied the benefits there from. The right of family unity is often distinguished from the right to family reunification, which extends protection more specifically to families that have been separated that wish to reunite. Even though few human rights instruments specifically designate a right offamily reunification it will be argued that to deny family reunification is to effectively violate the right to family unity. This paper furthermore examines the right to family reunification as it applies to refugees, looking specifically at the current status of South African and international law. It will be emphasised that because refugee law is informed by international human rights law, it can support, reinforce or supplement refugee law.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Fatima Khan
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