UN warns South African leaders against statements inciting Xenophobic attacks

The United Nations Acting Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Ayodele Odusola, voiced profound concern about latest and continuous acts of violence against foreign citizens that have spread across multiple areas of the nation, especially in the Gauteng Province.

“Over the past few days, we have witnessed, with deep concern, acts of violence against foreign nationals and criminality against members of the public and the wanton destruction of property,” said Mr Odusola. “This should not be happening in the South Africa Mandela dreamt of.”

He called on all stakeholders to be part of the solution by refraining from speaking or sending inciting texts to and from South Africa. Political rulers, law enforcement agencies, organized private sector, community leaders, organisations of civil society, citizens, and the global community must be vanguards and social cohesion ambassadors.

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The acting Resident Coordinator added that he was encouraged by the police’s response to the violence and welcomed the statements made by the South African authorities, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, condemning violence and other criminal acts.

In response to a question when she attended the World Economic Forum on Africa last Thursday in Cape Town, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said, “There isn’t anything that justifies the level of violence against another person for trying to make a livelihood and, in particular, in the African context, a guest in your home should not be harmed.”

Meanwhile, Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson, highly condemned the violence in New York last week, stating that “the Secretary‑General has also very much noted President Ramaphosa’s unequivocal condemnation of that violence, as well as his call for strengthened accountability in line with democratic values enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution. The Secretary‑General urges all political leaders to clearly and openly reject the use of violence.”

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Mr Odusola said the UN will continue to work with the South African government, the people of South Africa and other partners to find a lasting alternative to violence and crime.

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