UNHCR calls for action against violence targeting foreigners in South Africa

PRETORIA, South Africa - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency is gravely concerned over the recurring violent attacks against foreign nationals, including refugees and asylum-seekers, in South Africa, most recently taking place in the commercial business districts (CBD) of Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng Province. 

UNHCR has received a number of calls from affected refugees and asylum-seekers mainly from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia who are too afraid to return to their homes due to the outbreak of violence. Reportedly, some foreign owned shops have also been looted and destroyed. 

“South Africa’s recently adopted National Action Plan to address xenophobia needs to be put into action to prevent and address future incidents” said Mr. Zulu, UNHCR Deputy Director for Southern Africa. “Regardless of status, the human rights of all persons residing in South Africa must be respected and law and order must prevail.”

UNHCR welcomes the public expressions from the Government of the Republic of South Africa and civil society calling for peaceful coexistence and harmony with foreign nationals in the country. 

South Africa is host to some 274,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. 

For additional information:
In Pretoria, Markku Aikomus, +27817977456, [email protected]