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Xenophobic Attacks In South Africa Deplored By UN

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa deplored by UN agencies

21 May 2008 - United Nations agencies operating in South Africa have expressed deep concern at the outbreak of violent xenophobic attacks in the province of Gauteng in the past week that has led to the deaths of several people and many others being left injured or homeless.

In a statement issued yesterday in Pretoria by the Office of the Resident Coordinator in South Africa, UN officials said they were equally disturbed by the violence and xenophobia that has been occurring across the country in recent months.

"Most of the victims are law-abiding migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers seeking a safe and better life for their families among South Africans," the statement noted.

"We remain gravely concerned at the prospect of [a] further escalation in violence, especially against the most vulnerable, including women, children and poor families."

The officials said they welcomed the deployment of more police to affected areas to restore order, as well as the condemnation of the attacks by senior figures in the Government and public life.

"The United Nations organizations in South Africa stand ready to provide assistance and support for immediate humanitarian needs faced by the victims of attacks, as well as to find medium and long-term solutions to the unfolding developments."

ENDS

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