Xenophobia in South Africa against African Immigrants Must Stop Now!

April 20th, 2015 Print Print Email Email

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians, (GARE) and Ethiopiawinnet: Council for the Protection of Citizens Rights, (E-CPCR) expresses its utter disbelief and outrage concerning the deepening Xenophobia, more appropriately, Afro-phobia that is unfolding in South Africa. We condemn the brutal and senseless killings of Ethiopians and other Black Africans. These atrocities, including the petrol bombing of six Black Africans including two Ethiopians by mobs and other individuals and groups, is travesty in today’s globally interconnected world. Ethiopians seek refuge in South Africa because of political repression and lack of job opportunities in their home country.

Ethiopia contributed to the Anti-Apartheid movement and Ethiopians welcomed and hosted numerous black South Africans in their home country at the height of their greatest need. It is therefore stunning to us that Goodwill Zwelrthin, the King of the Zulus and President Zuma’s son would add fuel to the fire by demanding that Ethiopians and other Black Africans leave South Africa. It is tragic these mob actions against Black African refugees are taking place in a country for whose freedom Blacks struggled.

It is ironic that South Africa would welcome Whites expelled from Zimbabwe. We are also aware that there are numerically more Asian immigrants who compete and often displace South Africans in most every economic sector- from local vending which used to be dominated by poor South African women, to micro enterprise to scaled-up production and distribution of goods and services. Yet not one Asian was tortured or killed. Could this be reflective of the official government attitude towards African immigrants? Why would South Africans target immigrants from other African countries who seek refuge from political oppression and economic deprivation and not others? Should the South African government not address the problems of the different categories of African immigrants, and where feasible, repatriate them to their home countries with dignity and meet its international obligation towards asylum seekers?

The Government of South Africa has an obligation under international law to protect refugees. We therefore, demand that President Zuma and his Government intervene and stop these atrocities immediately.

We appreciate President Zuma’s cancellation of his international trip to address the dire condition of Ethiopian and other African immigrants. At the same time, we demand that immediate and tangible actions be taken to ensure the safety of Ethiopian immigrants and other African immigrants.

GARE and E-CPCR urges the Government of South Africa to immediately:

-. Take appropriate urgent action to stop Xenophobia attacks against Ethiopian and other African immigrants
-. Provide medical attention, emergency assistance and appropriate shelter for those displaced from their homes and scattered in police stations and churches,
- Take appropriate lawful action against officials inciting Africa-phobia attacks
- Provide appropriate compensations to those killed, injured and for those who have lost properties,

We urge the United Nations, the African Union, the United States, the European Community and the International community at large to use their influence and demand the South African government to take immediate legal actions to protect immigrants under its protection,

UNHCR to transfer refugees who are becoming victims of the repeated South African xenophobic attacks to a safer location,

We encourage domestic and International Human Rights Organizations to provide pro bono legal assistance to the Ethiopian victims of xenophobia in South Africa,

Finally, we recognize that the grim socio-economic and political situation in Ethiopia is driving thousands of young girls and boys from their home land and exposing them to inhuman treatment abroad. The Ethiopian government must take responsibility and take appropriate and immediate action to protect the rights of its citizens who are being subjected to barbaric killings in the streets of South Africa.

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