World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UNHCR Deep Concerned Over Xenophobic Attacks

23 May 2008 - The United Nations refugee agency said today that it remains "deeply concerned" over the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa, which has claimed dozens of lives and has displaced some 17,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers.

Many of those who have been attacked in the past two weeks - a large percentage of them being Zimbabweans - had originally moved to South Africa to escape persecution in their own countries.

"We are present on the ground and have been assessing the needs at sites near police stations where the displaced have gathered," Jennifer Pagonis, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said today.

On Wednesday, the agency distributed blankets and mats to survivors, with additional supplies being released from emergency stocks yesterday. Ms. Pagonis said UNHCR is in close contact with the South African Government regarding further assistance.

Among the displaced Zimbabweans are many asylum-seekers who urgently require both assistance and protection, UNHCR said.

"While thousands of Mozambicans are reportedly streaming home, many Zimbabweans cannot consider returning home due to the well-known situation in their country," Ms. Pagonis observed.

Since many of the Zimbabweans need international protection, she called for those seeking asylum to have access to national asylum procedures in South Africa or other nations. "Zimbabweans who are refugees should be recognized as such," she noted."

In the past, UNHCR has encouraged South Africa to halt the deportation of Zimbabweans to their country, and it is calling on South Africa to grant them, on an exceptional basis, the possibility to stay in the country.

"Recent events in South Africa, as well as in their own country, are once again highlighting just how vulnerable this group is, making acting on UNHCR's appeal even more urgent today," Ms. Pagonis said.

The agency pledged its continued support to the Government in boosting the national asylum system and in protecting refugees and asylum-seekers currently in South Africa, numbering over 125,000.


Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>