UN condemns murder of Elvis Nyathi and all xenophobic acts in South Africa
The United Nations has expressed growing concern about the ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment against foreigners in South Africa and has urged the government to ensure their human rights are respected.
The acting head of the UN in South Africa, Ayodele Odusola, cited particularly the brutal killing of Elvis Nyathi, the Zimbabwean father of four who was beaten and burnt to death in Diepsloot outside Johannesburg last Wednesday.
“It is deeply worrisome and unfortunate that this is happening in a country with one of the most inclusive constitutions globally,” said Odusola.
“Over the recent past we have noted with deep concern as movements such as Operation Dudula are illegally forcing people suspected to be undocumented foreign nationals to show their papers. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Nyathi and with all of those families affected by similar violence in the recent months.”
In a statement, the UN said it was important to note that the South African government had ratified several international human rights and refugee instruments that were also an integral part of national law:
“This requires that the human rights of all persons residing in South Africa, regardless of their nationality or immigration status, must be respected. This includes individuals who may be refugees, asylum seekers or stateless persons.”
“The UN stands by the recent statements by government representatives opposing actions by the violent protesters and urging people not to take the law into their hands.
“One example of this includes President Cyril Ramaphosa, stating: ‘As a country founded on tolerance, respect for diversity and non-discrimination, we must never allow ourselves to turn against people who come from beyond our borders.’ And that: ‘Acts of lawlessness directed at foreign nationals, whether documented or undocumented, could not be tolerated.’” DM