Media Advisory – South Africa: A climate of impunity continues to fuel violence against refugees and migrants

Refugees, migrants and their small businesses continue to be the targets of attacks resulting from failed policing across the country, Amnesty International said today. In the most recent attacks, refugees and migrants have been targeted in places such as Soweto, in different locations in the West Rand, Sebokeng and Vereeniging, with tensions high in Mamelodi and Sasolburg. 

Scores of people have been displaced, had their livelihoods destroyed and are currently without shelter. 

“Amnesty International has repeatedly called on authorities to take systematic measures of prevention and protection of the rights of refugees and migrants. They must launch proper investigations and identify the individuals and groups behind these crimes and bring them to book,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

Longstanding impunity for perpetrators of attacks continues to fuel further violence. Government officials and the leadership of political parties are failing to speak out clearly and decisively to condemn this pattern of violence against socially vulnerable individuals. 

In addition, the police continue to lack effective leadership in terms of their responsibility to prevent and respond to such attacks. 

Amnesty International is also calling on humanitarian agencies, municipalities, Disaster Management and other appropriate organizations to respond urgently to assist those affected by the violence and to ensure contingency plans are in place in the case of future incidents.