African Parliamentarians Association For Human Rights weighs in on xenophobic attacks

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Violence in which some foreign nationals are being targeted is not only giving South Africa a negative image, but Members of Parliament have to answer some tough questions.

That’s according to the Chairperson of the African Parliamentarians Association For Human Rights Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.

He says their fellow African parliamentarians are asking them questions.

“It makes one feel ashamed and very embarrassed. I mean throughout our formal and informal deliberations with our African colleagues, we have been asked a lot of embarrassing (questions) about what is happening in the country. We have made a resolution that it must be a collective effort.”

The association which is sitting in Cape Town has also condemned gender-based violence. It says this inhumane act constitutes a violation of basic human rights and is inconsistent with the values of the South African Constitution.

Some of the countries represented are Ghana, the DRC, Malawi, South Africa and Lesotho.

Davis Katete from Malawi’s parliament has also pleaded with other African countries who are retaliating after the violence in which foreign nationals are being targeted.

“South Africa is regarded as the United States of Africa because almost all citizens of all nations are found in South Africa. What is happening here about these xenophobic attacks, we should understand it from certain angle that not all South Africans are for xenophobic attacks. This thing is being done by few other misguided individuals, who have taken the law into their own hands, where they are violating human right and are causing disorder.”

Hundreds of mostly foreign-owned shops were looted and dozens of vehicles were torched. This has since resulted in the deaths of at least seven people.

On Tuesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele and Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited different parts of Johannesburg, addressing residents and called for calm.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says South Africa is at risk of a repeat of the 2008 xenophobic violence.

Project Manager at the IRR Terrence Corrigan, says, “In 2008, 63 people were killed. We don’t appear to be kind of at that kind of level, but the fundamental drivers remain in place. Socio-economic frustration and failure of the rule of law, and the particularly reckless type of politics that many people who should know better have been pushing. So, those elements were present in 2008, and I think to an increased degree they are present at the moment.”