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RESOLUTION ON THE SITUATION OF XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MIGRANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

 CRES\002\4\2015:  RESOLUTION ON  THE SITUATION OF XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MIGRANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

 
 
 
We,  the participants of the  Forum  on the Participation of NGOs in the  56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Recalling  the mandate of the African Commission to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa;
Noting  particularly Article 12 of the African Charter that guarantees the freedom of movement and of residence by non-nationals in African states and protects them against mass expulsion;
Recalling the obligations of member States to the African Charter arising from Articles1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 19 of the African Charter; 
Deeply concerned by the outbreak of xenophobic attacks against foreigners, particularly of African origin,  committed in South Africa since January 2015, which include violations ofthe right to life, the right to physical integrity, the right to property, 
freedom of assembly, freedom of expression; 
Concerned by thefailure of the Government of South Africa to address the early warning signs of xenophobic violence, to effectively stop the on-going attacks and threats againstnon-nationals and to adequately protect and provide redress victims of violence;
Deeply concerned  by the  excessive use of force by security forces against the anti-xenophobia peaceful march organised by non-nationals in Durban;
Further concerned  by the inflammatory and hateful remarks made by several South African leaders, including Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, President Zuma’s son Edward Zuma and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, contributing to the escalation of the on-going attacks on non nationals; 
Noting  the condemnation  by the Government of South Africa of the xenophobic attacks, the organisation of a peace march in Durban and calls for an end xenophobic violence;
Noting  with deep concern the failure by the Government of South Africa to  firmly condemn  the inflammatory and hateful statements,  that has led to exacerbation of xenophobic violence and the proposal made by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe of the establishment of refugee camps as a response to xenophobia;  
Concerned  that  a policy of encampment is retrogressive in that it would serve only to further alienate this already vulnerable population, in complete disregard for South Africa’s Constitution and the Refugees Act 130 of 1998, which guarantee freedom of movement and residence, as well as South Africa’s international and regional human 
rights commitments;
Stressing that the Government’s failure to adequately address legacies of apartheid and to meet the basic needs of the people of South Africa has contributed to the entrenchment of xenophobia;
Concerned  that  the findings and  recommendations of the report produced by the South African Human Rights Commission in 2010, concerning the xenophobic attacks have not been implemented to effectively bring justice to victims of xenophobia and hold those responsible accountable to prevent the resurgence of such attacks;
Deploring  further the increased administrative hurdles, increased corruption within Immigration department and tightening of immigration laws in South Africa has reinforced negative perceptions about migrants;
Recalling Resolution 131/2008 of the African Commission on the Situation of Migrants in South Africa adopted in May 2008;
We call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to; 
1.  Adopt an resolution condemning in the strongest terms the xenophobic attacks on non-nationals in South Africa and urging the Government of South Africa to; 
2.  Unconditionally respect and uphold provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other regional and international human rights standards guaranteeing  the fundamental principle of non-refoulement and the 
fundamental rights and freedoms of migrants;
3.  Ensure an effective, impartial and independent investigation and prosecution of all  instigators and perpetrators of xenophobic attacks, including the authors of inflammatory and hateful statements; 
4.  Ensure an effective, adequate and prompt redress for all victims of xenophobic attacks and the vetting of all police officers involved in  the disproportionate attacks against the Durban peaceful anti-xenophobia march;
5.  Refrain, in its responses to the xenophobic violence, from any retrogressive measures, in particularly the establishment of refugee camps, in violation of its own legislation and its international and regional human rights commitments;
6.  Take effective steps to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the 2010 report of the South African Human Rights Commission and previous resolutions of the African Commission on xenophobia in South Africa;
7.  Adopt an effective national strategy to combat, stop  and prevent xenophobia and to address all its legal, economic, political, social and psychological drivers;
8.  Urge the Government of South Africa to address the root causes  of xenophobia and the unfinished business of the South African transitional justice process; 
9.  Ensure the release of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained, and that the immigration laws and practice do not consider illegal immigration a criminal offense;
10.  Urgently authorize the African Commission to carry out a promotion and protection mission to South Africa, in particular with its Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of  Refugees  Asylum Seekers  and  Migrants,  and appraise the 
Commission of all progress at the 57th Session of the ACHPR .
 
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015
 
 
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