The attacks against foreigners in KwaZulu Natal, Johannesburg and other parts of our country are shameful.
AND IF WE CLOSE OUR EYES, OR TURN AWAY, WE BRING SHAME ON OURSELVES.
The attacks present South Africans to the world as a barbaric, violent and murderous nation. We are not. Our march will show another South Africa to ourselves and the world.
We are the country of NELSON MANDELA , OLIVER TAMBO and all people who gave their lives for freedom. In our freedom struggle, we had vital help from our sisters, brothers and comrades throughout Africa and the world. In 1994, we voted for peace, not war. We have the fairest Constitution in the world – that protects ALL who live here.
WE LINK ARMS with our sisters and brothers from other countries who live with us here in South Africa. We are proud of our extended family that transcends national borders, languages, cultures and religions – because we need each other, because we are one!
WE WILL MARCH to celebrate our solidarity with everyone from other countries living amongst us – particularly the poor, people seeking refuge, and political and economic migrants who have come to our country to try and survive.
WE WILL MARCH to show our deep concern and solidarity to all poor communities where chronic unemployment, inadequate housing, rising crime and bad schools have become the norm.
WE WILL MARCH to appeal to people who live in poor communities not to resort to violence, to not be distracted by blaming people from other countries who are also struggling. The poor and vulnerable of the world must unite!
WE WILL MARCH to expose employers who play one group of workers off against another in order to maximize their profit.
They are part of the problem right across our Africa and the world. Workers, do not be fooled: recognize that it is only by uniting workers and communities within and across national borders, that a real challenge to poverty, pay and conditions can be fought and won.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY HELPED END APARTHEID. Likewise, we must build unity within and across our national boundaries. Our struggle against all forms of oppression and discrimination continues. Authorities must listen to our pleas, and improve and protect our communities and respond positively.
WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. We must treat one another with respect, and live our lives in DIGNITY.
It is time for all good people to come together. We are the majority. We reject division. It is time for real change!
DON’T TURN AWAY. Don’t make excuses.
Join us! Come from your school, workplace, union, your church, your university, your business, your community. Take three hours to march for life, dignity and equality.
Together, let us show the world and our countrymen and women that another South Africa exists – where solidarity defeats xenophobia!
On 30-31 March 2015, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa participated on the International Peace Youth Group – WARP SUMMIT FOR AFRICA: VUSA IZIZWE NAMHLANJE World Peace Summit, which took place at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. CoRMSA presented to the plenary Youth called “A culture of peace amidst xenophobia, racism and violent protest” under the topic : “The Freedom Charter says that South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war.” This should clearly be what we strive to maintain within the borders of our own country as well – within our communities, within our homes. How are the youth able to ensure that a culture of peace is promoted where inequalities and social injustices are perpetuated giving rise to xenophobia, racism and violent protesting? As the youth we cannot be part of a future we do not create. So let us create one based on human dignity, equality and freedom”. The young leaders from civil society combine their strengths to discuss how a culture of peace can be promoted in the context of continuous realities faced by ordinary people on the African continent.
CoRMSA presented a speech that talks to practical issues of xenophobia, racism and violent protest, and especially the impacts and the role the youth can play in combating those. CoRMSA’s speech was well received by the audience as it touched mostly on the practical issues happening in the communities and recommendation to the youth in building communities of peaceful coexistence. The speech also covered the aspect of social integration and cohesion of foreign nationals in communities. Furthermore, the speech also carried an educational aspect, informing the youth on issues of migration in South Africa and the African continent as a whole.
The summit was well attended as it had various dignitaries, Heads of State, Traditional leaders, Ambassadors, Interfaith Group, UN agencies, Religious Leaders and various communities including non-national communities. In closing of the summit, Honorable Minister of Home Affairs in South Africa, Mr. Malusi Gigaba made a positive remarks of condemning the current xenophobia attacks of foreigners in South Africa by the local communities and urged all political leaders, Traditional leaders and communities to stop making statement that fuels xenophobia in communities.
21 March 2015.
For Immediate Release:
21 March is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa to commemorate the memory of the Sharpeville massacre which took place on this day in 1960 and to celebrate the human rights based Constitution that took effect for all in South Africa following the 1994 democratic elections.. In 1966, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed ‘Sharpeville Day’ as an International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
On this important day for South Africa and internationally in the fight against racism and oppression, CoRMSA calls for the recognition and respect of refugee and migrant rights, which our Constitution declares as equal human rights to those of citizens, other than the right to vote. However, the current incidents of xenophobia and looting of foreign owned shops in townships in and around Gauteng Province and other part of the country is a clear indication that refugee and migrant rights are not being respected, protected or implemented..
Under apartheid many South Africans left the country to seek refuge in other states. Our political leaders should understand, better than most, the need for human rights to extend to refugees and migrants. Both the South African government and its citizens, including refugees and migrants need to respect and exercise the benefits of human rights equally to avoid the past incident of discrimination and related intolerance of persons based on their nationality and race.
CoRMSA calls for political intervention and a stop to xenophobia and ‘hate crime’ violence against non-nationals. Politicians and community leaders must never cease to promote, educate and raise awareness of the South African constitution: the right to move free movement without a pass book,, rights to education, basic health care and fair labour practices amongst other included in the Bill of Rights. There is a strong need for politicians to take the lead in condemning and eradicating contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination. Local political leaders need to take the lead in initiating community dialogues on human rights for all in order to promote coexistence.
Furthermore, CoRMSA strongly believe that peaceful coexistence can be effectively achieved in South Africa through continuous community conversation and this can only be successful if relevant South
African government departments such as Department of Home Affairs, Social Development, Arts and Culture, Small Business Development, South African Police Services and Community Safety including Chapter 9 institutions such as South African Human Rights Commission, Commission for Gender Equality and the Public Protectors can work together on addressing abuses of human rights. This form of conversation should include citizens, refugees and migrants themselves to enable them to voice out their concerns and recommendations. This will definitely promote the spirit of “Ubuntu” in communities.
CoRMSA is not alone in our strong belief that South Africa as a country does not want to go back to the time of discrimination based on race, or gender, religious affiliation, nationality or sexual orientation. CoRMSA is convinced that eroding of the protection of refugee and migrant rights leads to the erosion of protection of citizens’ rights. To avoid this, the South African Human Rights Commission should ensure that protection of human rights for all is their priority by being proactive rather than reactive. Civil society must also continue to play a central role in protecting and promoting human rights, and allowing citizens to hold their government accountable.
Lastly, CoRMSA pleads with the Department of Justice to speed up the process of finilising and publishing the long awaited hate crime legislation to criminalise all forms of racist and xenophobic violence and other crimes based on hate, bias or prejudice. This will assist the police and the judiciary to arrest and suitably sentence perpetrators of such crimes and end the current seeming impunity for those that commit acts of violence and intimidation in contradiction of our rights based democratic values.
For further information please contact:
Ms Roshan Dadoo Acting Executive Director – CoRMSA –082 816 2799/011 403 7560 email@example.com
Mr. Thifulufheli Sinthumule – National Programme Coordinator – CoRMSA – 078 287 1485/011 403 7560 firstname.lastname@example.org
CoRMSA statement on International Women’s Day 2015
Recognising the importance of Gender Equality for Refugee and Migrant Women
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) joins the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. This year, International Women’s Day will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, signed by 189 governments 20 years ago. On this day, it is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
CoRMSA is recognising the achievements and contributions made by refugee and migrants women in their host countries under the global theme of “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” We share the vision of a world where every woman and girl can exercise her rights, including access to education, health care services, employment, shelter and living in societies free from gender discrimination and gender based violence: a world where women can enjoy freedom of movement in order to seek safety from persecution and war and to build a better life for their families.
In South Africa, March is regarded as Human Rights Month, reminding us of our constitutional commitment to equal rights for all including refugee and migrant women. However we are concerned that much still needs to be done to realise refugee and migrant’s women’s human rights in South Africa and globally. CoRMSA acknowledges the effort made by the South Africa Government towards ensuring the visibility of women in public life but there is a strong need to enhance the decision-making role of refugee and migrant’s women. Too often the experiences of refugee and migrant women are not valued and their rights are disregarded.
CoRMSA urges the Commission for Gender Equality and all civil society organisations, government departments, community organisations, private institutions and ordinary citizens to discover and recognise the contributions and achievement made by refugee and migrant women, to work together with men in order to achieve a gender balanced society, eliminate discrimination against women, and to enable refugee and migrant women to have their voices heard.
For more information contact:
Mr. Thifulufheli Sinthumule, Advocacy Officer
Tel: +27 11 403 7560
Cell: +27 (0) 78 287 1485
Press release: CoRMSA calls for urgent political intervention to stop attacks on foreign nationals in Soweto and other areas
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) is deeply concerned by the lack of political response to the attacks on non-nationals in Soweto and surrounding areas.
These attacks began on 19 January after a Somali national was alleged to have fatally shot a fourteen year old boy who was amongst a mob of people who were threatening to break into his shop. Whilst we do not condone the shooting and we sincerely empathise with the family, we believe it cannot be correct for communities to attack a whole group of people belonging to a particular social group for the fact that one of their own is alleged to have committed a crime. Taking the law into own hands has never been the solution.
We acknowledge that there were initially some attempts from the South African Police Service to intervene and contain the situation, however, the continued escalation of the violence and looting of mainly foreign owned shops requires much more drastic measures from the political leadership to contain the situation and ensure the safety of foreign nationals and others within these communities.
We call for urgent intervention from the Presidency, the Ministry of Police, the African National Congress and leaders of other political parties to call on communities to desist from continuing with the rampant behaviour. The 2008 xenophobic attacks taught us that the delayed response from the political leadership also contributes to the escalation of such incidences. We further call for reinforced presence of police in affected and other potential areas to defuse the situation.
We believe these attacks are xenophobic and not purely criminal. In this regard, we further call for the Department of Justice to finally enact Hate Crimes legislation. This legislation would ensure that such acts motivated by prejudice are punishable and perpetrators held accountable thus addressing the impunity with which many of the perpetrators of attacks directed at foreign nationals have been met. The impunity is one factor that continues to make it possible for such behaviour to continue.
For further information please contact:
Ms Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane – Executive Director- CoRMSA – 083 257 9015/011 403 7560 email@example.com
Mr Thifulufheli Sinthumule- Advocacy Officer-CoRMSA – 078 287 1485/011 403 7560 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find a pdf version of the press release here: CoRMSA Statement for Immediate release- Attacks on foreign nationals-22January2015