Saturday, 18 April 2015

THE United Nations Pretoria To Protect African immigrants.

THE United Nations has expressed concern over the ongoing spate of xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa and urged Pretoria to accelerate the enactment of legislation to tackle hate crimes in the country. UN’s reaction comes hardly a day after the African Union condemned in strongest terms the ongoing xenophobic attacks being perpetrated against foreign nationals.

The AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal Province, where the attacks started, in a statement, described the violence as “unacceptable.” She called for an immediate halting of violence against African immigrants.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Stephane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s spokesperson, in a statement issued yesterday by the High Commissioner for Human Rights through his office in New York, urged South Africa to formulate future policies on migrants which conformed to international standards.
“While acknowledging efforts made by the government of South Africa in response to the xenophobic violence in the country, the UN is also concerned about populations that have been displaced as a result of this violence and encourages the government to provide adequate protection to all affected persons, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers,” said Dujarric.

He said migrants have rights that need to be protected.

“While the South African government has been firm in its condemnation of the violence, the United Nations is alarmed at the recurrence of violence directed at foreigners in the country.

Governments need to ensure that legislation is up to international standards and the underlying causes need to be addressed through accelerating the enactment of legislation to tackle hate crimes in the country,” said Dujarric.

“Now, if people have grievances these need to be addressed peacefully and through dialogue but migrants are a vulnerable population and whether it’s in South Africa or parts of Europe, all over the world we’ve seen they’’ve become increasingly targets.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also called for perpetrators to be brought to book.

“It also encourages the government to accelerate enactment of legislation against hate crimes, hold those responsible for acts of violence and violations of human rights accountable.”

A UN High Commission for Refugees team has been sent to the coastal city of Durban to assess the situation and identify where the organisation can support the government and civil society partners in their response. The displaced foreign nationals are grouped in four tented shelters for displaced people established by the local Disaster Management Centre.

The first group has been moved to a sports centre in Chatsworth that now shelters around 1,400 people, mostly single men, with few families. The men are separated from the women and children. An undetermined number of people have sought refuge in mosques, churches and other buildings.

South Africa has in the past week witnessed shocking incidents of violence directed at foreigners in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, which has now spread to some parts of Gauteng.

The attacks, which started in the townships around Durban and spread to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg, have left at least five people dead and scores, among them Zimbabweans, injured and thousands displaced.

As xenophobic violence flares up in the neighbouring country, several countries, including Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and Mozambique are taking measures to deal with the repatriation of their citizens from the country.

The violent attacks started a few weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal, apparently after a speech made by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Shops owned by foreigners were looted and immigrants moved to refugee camps to escape the attacks. Herald

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