United Nations Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, has called on law enforcement agencies to refrain from forcefully removing children from their parents.

This follows chaotic scenes in the City of Cape Town CBD on Wednesday- as police officials used stun grenades and water cannons in attempts to disperse foreign protesters – who staged a three-week sit in at the UN High Commission building.

Around 300 foreigners from countries such as Congo, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi and Nigeria were removed in terms of a court order.

They are now demanding documentation to leave South Africa.

Video footage from the protest shows police forcefully removing children from their parents or guardians.

Bekele-Thomas says the UN is willing to assist them.

“It’s universally accepted that children should not be separated from their parents, especially forcefully. We are emphasizing the fact that they should not be separated in a forceful manner.”

“We told them if they want to be repatriated to their respective countries, the UN is here and we will take all steps to make sure that they go back to their countries and get integrated. But what they want is to go to another country. You have to have a willing country to take them.”

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