"The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training & Advocacy (ARESTA) "

Welcome to ARESTA

The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training & Advocacy (ARESTA) is a Cape Town based Non-Profit Organization.

ARESTA fulfils a practical empowerment role in educating and providing skills to refugees and asylum seekers, helping refugees develop their own strengths in order for them to become self-reliant during their stay under the protection of the South African Government.

Vision and Mission

ARESTA's Vision is that refugees are integrated into South African society and enjoy full democratic rights and benefits.

Our Mission: To contribute to the successful integration as a solution for asylum seekers and refugees through advocacy, training, skills development, education and research.

ARESTA Objectives:

• To develop a long term re-integration strategy of refugees into South African community;
• To promote Refugee rights awareness and protection of refugees & asylum seekers;
• To facilitate job creation and income generation activities within the refugee community: empower Refugees toward self-sustainability;
• To develop and strengthen partnerships and networks with other Refugee service providers, governmental institutions, structures and/or agencies;
• To conduct research on voluntary repatriation as alternative to local integration;
• To develop a comprehensive contingency plan and strategy to combat and address xenophobic violence.

Who is a refugee?

- a person who owing a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

- or a person whose life, physical safety or freedom is endangered because of sexual orientation, violation of human rights, events seriously disturbing peace or public order such as national conflicts, civil wars and other disasters in their countries of origin.

Who is an Asylum seeker?

An asylum seeker is a person who has lodged an application for asylum with the Department of Home Affairs and who is waiting for a decision on refugee status.

What are their rights and obligations?

According to the conventions and legislations the Republic of South Africa is a signatory to, Refugees and Asylum seekers are afforded virtually the same rights as South African nationals (accept the right to vote).

Refugees and Asylum seekers' rights:

• full legal protection of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution;
• Not to be forcibly deported from the Country except as provided for under its international and national obligations;
• seek for employment, get self employed, and enter into contracts and leases;
• acquire movable and immovable property;
• access primary and emergency health care services;
• benefit from basic primary education, access secondary and tertiary education;
• an identity and travel document.

Refugees and Asylum seekers' responsabilities:

• respect and obey the laws and regulations of the Republic of South Africa;
• respect the rights of others in the Republic.

Section 22 Permit: Temporary, renewable permit contemplated in the 1998 Refugees Act, issued to an asylum seeker as a testament that the bearer's claim for asylum is still to be certified, allowing the bearer to reside in South Africa, but prohibiting work and study (Unless otherwise stated).

Section 24 Permit: Identification document contemplated in the 1998 Refugees Act granting refugee status to bearer and allowing him/her to reside in South Africa for a period of two years (renewable).

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