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Refereed articles

Legal protection of undocumented foreign migrant children in South Africa: Reality or myth?

The article considers whether the treatment of undocumented foreign migrant children in South Africa conforms to the requirements of international law and the South African Constitution. The author points out that South Africa has ratified several international treaties which contain specific provisions protecting undocumented foreign migrant children.

She also points to the strong protection of such children afforded by the South African Constitution and discusses cases where government officials were ordered to change the way in which the department treated undocumented foreign migrant children. She concludes that, while a strong legal framework is in place to protect these vulnerable children from abuse and maltreatment, problems arise in practice when government officials fail to adhere to these standards. Better training of officials, it is suggested, will go a long way in addressing some of these concerns.

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