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NO to Xenophobia

5 Aug 2015 - 09:45

The UCT Refugee Rights Unit would like to condemn in the strongest possible terms the Xenophobic Violence in 2015 and stands in opposition to any attempts to intimidate, attack, kill or in any other way harm or unfairly discriminate against foreign nationals in South Africa.

We would further speak out condemning the use of hate speech and inflammatory comments driving or fuelling xenophobia and appeal to all people in South Africa at every level to stop and guard against xenophobic statements and actions. There is no excuse or justification for xenophobia.

It is important to also set aside any reference to xenophobia in the context of the legality of foreign nationals. A victim of xenophobic violence is targeted, by definition, because they are a foreign national and it is immaterial what the person's legal status in the country is. The discourse around xenophobia should be one focusing on acceptance and understanding towards foreign nationals living in South Africa and the legality of the individuals documents is irrelevant and does not take the debate forward. Social cohesion, integration, embracing diversity and learning from one another are much more useful pursuits.

We would like to convey our heartfelt sympathy to the victims of xenophobic violence, to those who have lost their love ones and to individuals who have been injured or displaced as a result of the violence. We reiterate our support for foreign nations living in South Africa in this trying time and appeal to all people living in South Africa to treat one another with respect and dignity.

We confirm further that UCT Refugee Rights Unit in conjunction with the University of Cape Town, Student Representative Counsel (SRC) would like to convey our solidarity to the cause of fighting against and preventing xenophobia and confirm that foreign nationals are a welcome and integral part of our communities.