15 April 2015
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) condemns in the strongest of terms the xenophobic attacks in South Africa affecting many African nationals, including Zimbabweans. The xenophobic attacks in South Africa date back to May 2008 when 62 people were killed.
What is surprising is that the government of Zimbabwe has remained silent over the violence threatening over a million Zimbabweans who are residing in South Africa. The Forum reminds the Government of Zimbabwe of its constitutional obligation to protect its citizens. Section 35 (3) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that “All Zimbabwean citizens are entitled to protection of the State wherever they may be”. However, in the face of this justiciable right, the government of Zimbabwe has remained unmoved by the plight of its citizens who are being affected or are at risk of being attacked in South Africa. The Government of Zimbabwe must learn from its counterparts in Malawi and Somalia who have responded swiftly to the plight of their citizens in South Africa.
The Forum is gravely concerned that the President of Zimbabwe being the current chair of SADC has visited South Africa on a State Visit and made no reference to this tragic crisis. The Government of Zimbabwe must act, and be seen to be acting to ensure the protection of all Zimbabweans no matter where they are.
The Forum urges the, the Government of South Africa take decisive actions to deal with xenophobia and ensure that perpetrators and those encouraging it are brought to justice. Xenophobia is heinous crime against humanity and should not, under any circumstance, be tolerated.