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An open letter to the South African government, the UN and AU on Human and Peoples' Rights

By Sagal Yusuf
Monday, May 25, 2015

Re: The xenophobic attacks against South African immigrants

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”
Article III of the declaration of human rights.

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” Article V of the declaration of human rights.

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The heartless, cruel and inhuman actions that recently took place in South Africa have shaken us to the core. The bulk of the victims were African migrants who, by all accounts, were hard-working and peaceful. The South African government has unfortunately refused to condemn these actions as hate crimes, labeling them as “usual crimes”.

As widely reported, the increasingly hostile and vocal hostility towards African immigrants in South African was fuelled by irresponsible comments and extremely immature public discourse. The repeated mantra has been widely publicized: “immigrants have been taking jobs from the native population”. Mobs armed with machetes attacked their fellow Africans, killing a number of them and looting their properties and businesses.

I strongly encourage the South African government to take a clear stand against these inhumane actions and to safeguard the safety and security of African migrants residing in the country. I also call upon the African commission on human and people’s rights and the United Nations to put pressure on the South African government. I am asking the government of South Africa to take the following steps in order to insure the safety and wellbeing of all immigrants residing in South Africa:

§  To increase police presence and to remind police their responsibilities of ensuring the safety of their fellow human beings.


§  To investigate and bring to justice those who committed these heinous crimes against their fellow Africans.


§  To condemn public statements that incite hatred towards African migrants, particularly by people of authority.


§  To take steps to educate the South African public about civil rights and the positive contributions Africans made in the fight against Apartheid.


§  Finally, to create economic opportunities for South African citizens in order to prevent similar incidents taking place in the future.


We all know how important democracy and freedom is to the South African people, having witnessed their long struggle against Apartheid. We are constantly reminded the heroism displayed by people such as Nelson Mandela who championed for equality, fairness and justice for all mankind. We also witnessed the bravery of many South African citizens who tried to safe their fellow Africans during the recent xenophobic attacks.


Let us all ensure that such heinous acts do not happen again in South Africa.

It always seems impossible until it’s done- Nelson Mandela

Sagal Yusuf is an activist based in Klippan, Sweden. You can reach her at [email protected]

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