Call for African unity, solidarity and reconciliation
London, UK – 21 April 2015
African and British people rallied outside the South African Embassy in London today to protest against xenophobic attacks on African immigrants and refugees in South Africa.
They appealed for an end to the violence, and called for reconciliation, African unity and South African government action to remedy poverty.
PHOTOS of the protest: http://bit.ly/1DIOsEM
Free use, no charge but please credit: Peter Tatchell Foundation
The protest was Organised by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
A petition has been launched: Stop xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Please sign:
Edwin Sesange, Director of Out and Proud, said:
“We are calling on the people of South Africa to work together to bring an end to xenophobic violence against fellow Africans – and for the South African government to do more to stop these attacks by protecting immigrants and refugees.
“We urge the South African government to address the socio-economic problems that are being used as an excuse for anti-immigrant pogroms – and for political, cultural, religious and ethnic leaders to speak out in support of African unity and solidarity, against all hate and victimisation. We appeal to the police, security agencies and courts to bring to justice the people committing these xenophobic assaults.
“We also call on the African Union to speak out and pressure South Africa to stop the violence,” he said.
His colleague, Abbey Kiwanuka, Chief Executive of Out and Proud, said:
“We call upon African nations whose nationals have been victimised to not retaliate but to engage with the South African government to secure a peaceful solution that saves lives and property.”
Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:
“The hope and inspiration of the post-apartheid Rainbow Nation is tarnished by these xenophobic mob attacks on African refugees and immigrants. This violence echoes similar anti-immigrant assaults by the far right in Europe. The government of South Africa needs to do much more protect new-comer African communities and to prosecute the perpetrators. It should also remedy the apartheid legacy of poverty and deprivation that has led some South Africans to unfairly scapegoat and demonise refugees and immigrants.”
In a joint statement, Edwin Sesange, Abbey Kiwanuka and Peter Tatchell said:
“Many foreign African nationals in South Africa have been attacked by xenophobic mobs. Their properties have been set ablaze and looted. Many more have been badly wounded. Thousands are in fear for their lives.
“South Africa has come very far from the dark days of apartheid. People across Africa and around the world worked together to support the South African freedom struggle and create the new Rainbow Nation.
“Many people, such as Zimbabweans, Somalis and Congolese, have fled to South Africa as refugees to escape war and persecution in their home countries. Others have migrated there as entrepreneurs who contribute to the economy.
“It is of great concern to see how the Rainbow Nation is under threat through deadly xenophobic attacks against innocent refugees and immigrants.
“The new South Africa was built on the foundation of the ubuntu (human kindness) philosophy: tolerance, diversity, acceptance, equality and togetherness. We applaud and defend these noble values.
“We accept that there are many social and economic problems in South Africa. However, these can be challenged and overcome without turning to violence. There is no justification for xenophobia and mob attacks on the innocent.”