It has been a yr since refugees began a protest that introduced central Cape City to a standstill. That protest led to a stand-off between the refugees and authorities that lasted a number of months. Immediately, in a camp removed from town, they insisted on being allowed to go to a 3rd nation.
Refugees in a camp in Bellville marked one yr on Thursday since they began their protest outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) places of work in Cape City.
It was a day filled with actions, together with dance performances and a dramatic manufacturing concerning the struggles of refugees. A speech by refugee chief Aline Bukuru was punctuated with cheering and ululating from the group.
Youngsters and adults held placards: “In search of asylum shouldn’t be against the law”, “The place is justice”, “Our chief JP Balous… free him from eight months of false accusations, arbitrary detention!!”
The refugees’ protest began on eight October 2019, first as a sit-in on the UNHCR places of work off St George’s Mall. They had been removed in a chaotic operation and ended up spending months on Greenmarket Sq. and occupying the Central Methodist Church till April 2020.
Weeks after Minister of Dwelling Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi warned the protesting refugees to reintegrate or face being despatched to their unique nations, many had been relocated to camps in Kensington and Bellville by the Metropolis of Cape City as Covid-19 gripped the nation.
Aline Bukuru mentioned institutional xenophobia, documentation issues and discrimination towards refugees has not ended, and the “SA first marketing campaign” has made issues worse.
“Our demand continues to be the identical. We proceed to say we’d like assist from the UNHCR to assist us depart the nation. They need to cease pointing fingers. Their mandate is to guard each refugee with out discrimination.
“To the federal government, we’d like them to just accept the truth that xenophobia exists in South Africa. If you don’t settle for that you’re sick, you by no means get healed … When they’re denying that there is no such thing as a xenophobia it means they’re selling crimes towards humanity,” she mentioned.
Bukuru mentioned when individuals fled persecution of their nations, they selected to go to South Africa as a result of that they had heard South Africa had a superb Structure that protects refugees.
“How will you stay in a group which doesn’t such as you and says SA first?” she requested.
Spokesperson for UNHCR,, Kate Pond mentioned, “The UNHCR continues to strongly encourage protesters to return to the communities, significantly throughout this time of unprecedented well being issues.”
Cape City’s government director for security and safety, Richard Bosman, mentioned, “The Metropolis and the division of dwelling affairs are busy with a means of engagement to discover a sustainable resolution to the reintegration of the affected individuals again into the communities.
“The implementation, as soon as accredited, shall be executed throughout the parameters of the nationwide Catastrophe Administration Act laws. The method has not been finalised but.” DM