The South African government says it is not able to accommodate citizens of Afghanistan seeking refuge in the country.
The Middle Eastern country has been facing violence and instability, culminating in a mass exodus of Afghan citizens looking for safer regions to live in, with the United Nations Refugee Agency estimating that at least half a million Afghan citizens have been displaced since the beginning of the year.
In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said it had noted “overtures made to the country to consider receiving a number of Afghanistan refugees who have sought refuge in Pakistan”.
“The request is that they be accommodated in South Africa en-route to their final destinations. The South African government is unfortunately not in a position to accommodate such a request. South Africa is already home to a substantial number of refugees and is seized with addressing their needs. Most of them already benefit from social assistance and free medical health programmes offered by our country,” the statement said.
The department cited that international law states that refugees are “best served by remaining in the first country of arrival – Pakistan – pending their final destinations”. – SAnews.gov.za