Heritage Day Press Statement: Embracing asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

Heritage Day Press Statement: Embracing asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                              24 September 2019.

Heritage Day Press Statement: Embracing asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

The month of September is commemorated and celebrated as the National Heritage Month.                 24th September in South Africa is National Heritage day, where South Africans celebrate their culture and the  diversity of beliefs and traditions in a wider context of a nation that belongs to all who live in it.

Heritage day should aim to unite South African communities regardless of nationality  through cultural diversity in order to promotepeace, social cohesion, reconciliation and economic development,free from prejudice, hatred, xenophobia and other intolerances. This day is meant for all the people living in the country including Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants. It offers a unique opportunity for all people to celebrate, embrace  and learn from a diversity.

This year’s heritage month is being celebrated  under the theme, “Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of indigenous languages”.   Unfortunately, for asylum seekers , refugees and  migrants there is little or indeed no cause tojoin in thecelebrations.   What was witnessed in the recent past weeks was inconceivable! The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa(CoRMSA),  strongly condemns the  xenophobic attacks  on non-nationals and the subsequent looting and destruction of mainly foreign owned shops by locals  in different parts of the country.  This behavior fueled by generalized myths and negative perceptions about  migrants, saw loss of many innocent lives  and displacement of  numerous non-nationals among them vulnerable women and children.

We pose a question of Ubuntu and ask all south Africans to celebrate this Heritage Day by  embracing social cohesion with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. This is what Ubuntu is meant to be!

South Africa’s rich and diverse heritage, including a  progressive and respected Constitution can manage to find a lasting solution to end all forms of discrimination based on people’s origins. With concerted political will, we believe that these xenophobic violence and attacks and massive destruction of property,  can be prevented and lasting solutions implemented.

CoRMSA urges all people living in South Africa, including asylum seekers, refugees and migrants  to boldly celebrate our diverse  cultural heritage in unity.

For inquiries or more information please contact: Thifulufheli Sinthumule (CoRMSA) thifulufheli@cormsa.org.za/+27 71 358 0059  or Muluti Phiri (CoRMSA) advocacy@cormsa.org.za/ +27711500113 or Abigail Dawson (CoRMSA)  communications@cormsa.org.za/+27748515683

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