UNHCR concerned over violence targeting foreigners in S. Africa

March 3, 2015 5:06 am 

JOHANNESBURG, March 2 — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday voiced deep concern about the recent waves of violence against foreigners in South Africa.

The statement came less than a month after a number of refugees and foreigners fled Soweto, a township of the city of Johannesburg, where violence started in January after a local teenager was shot dead by a foreign shop-owner. Shops owned by foreigners were looted.

"UNHCR is concerned about the numerous and on-going attacks on refugees and foreign nationals in other parts of the country, including the Western Cape, North West and Mpumalanga," the agency said.

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR's Regional Representative for Southern Africa, urged the South African government to contain the violence and looting and protect refugees and foreign nationals.

Last week, South African Minister of Small Business Development reaffirmed that in terms of the constitution, asylum seekers and refugees can establish and conduct businesses in the country, adding that a task team has been established to deal with the situation.

"The establishment of a task team is definitely a step in the right direction and we hope the issue can be addressed appropriately," Nkweta-Salami said.

The UNHCR further cautions refugees and foreign traders to abide by the laws governing the country and refrain from trying to take the law into their own hands. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAP/SSC

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