Amnesty International has demanded South African political leaders to stop making discriminatory and inflammatory remarks about migrants and foreign nationals saying such attacks lead to xenophobic violence.
Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa Shenilla Mohamed said this following violence against foreigners in South Africa.
On Friday, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele met with Heads of the Diplomatic Missions represented in South Africa “to find a lasting solution” to xenophobic attacks in the country.
Reacting to the meeting, Mohamed said discriminatory and inflammatory remarks particularly during election campaigns ahead of the polls lead to xenophobia.
“Longstanding criminal justice failures and populist rhetoric are some of the reasons behind the latest round of xenophobic violence against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.
“Rather than making comments that risk fanning the flames of xenophobia, the authorities must act to counter stereotypes, eradicate discrimination and foster greater equality and social cohesion in South Africa.”
Mohammed added that South African authorities have largely failed to address past outbreaks of xenophobic crimes that have been seen in the country since at least 2008, including bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice.
“South African authorities must ensure effective protection for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers against xenophobic attacks. The government must take concrete steps to hold suspected perpetrators to account. That begins with tackling impunity for past xenophobia-related crimes.” Mohammed said.
South Africa has been battling with recurring incidents of xenophobia since 2008, in part fueled by impunity.
The recent spike in attacks has occurred Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province. The attacks have seen hundreds of Malawians being forced out of their homes.