Human Rights Commission Monitors Attacks On Foreigners

By Shout-Africa – JOHANNESBURG – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hopes that rumours of a resurgence in xenophobic violence after the Soccer World Cup are “just a threat”, chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said on Tuesday.

xenophobic attack

He said a reaction unit has been assembled to respond to any attack on foreigners, although threats that there will be a recurrence of xenophobic violence after the World Cup have no basis.

Nevertheless they, the commission is taking the threats seriously.

“We are more than ready. There will be an effort much better than 2008,” he said during the launch in Johannesburg of a project aimed at dealing with discrimination and xenophobia.

The SAHRC and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights signed an agreement to help the SAHRC follow up on recommendations it made after the 2008 xenophobic attacks.

The $100 000 project will run from July 1 2010 to June next year.

Yanine Poc, regional representative of the UN High Commission on Human Rights, said a task team will monitor the implementation of the agreement.

The team will offer a liaison platform between the UN, its regional representatives and the SAHRC on matters involving human rights.

Mushwana said the money will be used to benefit South Africans.

Among other things, the money will be used to strengthen the education and legal services of the SAHRC so that it can reach people in rural areas.

The SAHRC instituted an investigation into the 2008 xenophobic violence that left thousands of foreigners displaced. In its report, it found that the security forces were unable to prevent the spread of the violence to other areas.

The attacks started in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg and spilled over to Diepsloot and Tembisa within five days.

During the outbreak of the violence, South Africans accused foreigners of “stealing” their jobs.

They argued that foreigners were employed because they were prepared to worked for less money than South Africans.

The SAHRC made recommendations to government departments directly affected by the xenophobic violence.

Recommendations include ensuring that all social conflict disaster plans and reintegration plans include a clear and transparent policy on repatriation.

The commission also said shelters for displaced people should not be closed before every avenue for safe integration into South African society have been exhausted.

The commission made recommendations to the police, the departments of home affairs, education, cooperative governance and traditional affairs, social development, justice as well as the Independent Complaints Directorate.