A Congolese man who fled to South Africa after being beaten up and forcibly conscripted as a soldier in the DRC has won his long legal battle for refugee status.
Acting Judge Alan Dodson ruled in the High Court in Pretoria yesterday that the man, referred to only as FNM, did not have a fair hearing before the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB) and was entitled to refugee status as there was ongoing instability in the eastern DRC.
The judge granted an order that FNM qualified as a refugee and gave Home Affairs 10 days to issue him with formal written recognition of his refugee status.
FNM was arrested by soldiers from the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) in 2011, after taking part in antigovernment protests. He was then forcibly conscripted into the FARDC.
He managed to desert, but was captured by rebels and held in captivity until he managed to escape again.
He eventually travelled through Zimbabwe to SA. He first applied for asylum in 2013.
The Refugee Appeal Board ruled in 2016 that he “would be safe” if he returned to the DRC. FNM said he feared for his life if he was forced to return.