Xenophobia: Apologies from South Africa not enough, says HURIWA

Posted by News Express | 17 September 2019 | 582 times

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•South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reject any apology from the South African President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, over the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans. It insisted in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja that the messages to be brought by the envoy of the South African President are cosmetic and a serious afterthought which cannot stand for a concrete and verifiable measures in real time to provide security of the lives of other black citizens in his country.

The rights group stated that so far there are no deterrent measures operational in South Africa strong enough to wade off further coordinated violent xenophobic crimes against other black Africans living in South African townships.

HURIWA noted that the best step to be adopted by Nigeria remains extracting strong assurances from the President of South Africa that on no occasion will such violence re-occur even as there is need for the African Union and the United Nations to deploy at least 10,000 strong member peace and security enforcement mission in South Africa for at least 10 years to restore stability and security to businesses legitimately operated by Nigerians and other Africans who live in South Africa.

The rights group also demanded strong applications of the laws against genocide and xenophobic killings and strong punishments for the suspects caught participating in such despicable crimes against humanity.

“We implore Mr. President not to accept the apology from the South African president over the huge losses to lives and properties that the Nigerian community in South Africa has endured over the last decades. There has to be strong enough evidence that such well-coordinated attacks will never occur,” the group said.

It reminded President Buhari that the spate of violent xenophobic attacks against black non-South Africans living in that country have the tacit official endorsement of some cabinet level appointees within the South African government which should be taken up by the African Union and the United Nations. HURIWA called for effective punishments to be meted out to the political office holders who were clearly captured on videos and tapes encouraging the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans.

It said: “Why is President Ramaphosa only just waking up to send some low level officials to come with apologies? President Ramaphosa is amongst the South African government officials that spoke out words that instigated the last xenophobic attacks when he made open allegations that foreigners set up businesses in South Africa without proper registration? The South African President has not yet purged himself of his pro-xenophobic tendencies.

“We expected that by now, president Buhari would have convoked or asked to be convoked, an emergency session of the African Union to deliberate on these xenophobic killings just as the Rights group wondered why foreign relations experts have not been summoned by the Nigerian government to neither introduce pragmatic changes to the current foreign relations objectives of Nigeria so the sanctity of the lives of Nigerians would be made the centre piece of the broad spectrum of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives of Nigeria. The current foreign policy objectives of Nigeria enshrined in the constitution are opaque and would need fundamental overhaul.”

The rights group noted that the lives of every Nigerian citizen globally should guide the formulation and enforcement of the foreign policy objectives of Nigeria. HURIWA said it is almost impossible to resolve these issues of xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other black Africans living in South African townships without the involvement of African Union and the United Nations.

Source: News Express

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