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Refugee safety priority amid rising xenophobic attacks in South Africa
International

Refugee safety priority amid rising xenophobic attacks in South Africa

Agency News

United Nations, Sep 21 : Violence against foreign nationals in South Africa has forced more than 1,500 people to flee their homes, UNHCR has said.

Attacks have left at least 12 people dead, including refugees and South Africans, UNHCR’s Charlie Yaxley told journalists in Geneva. He said UN staff had also seen a spike in the number of calls to emergency hotlines in recent weeks, after incidents in places including Katlehong near Johannesburg in Gauteng Province.

“People (are) reporting that their homes and businesses have been looted, buildings and property having been set on fire, increased gang activity on the streets and rising incidents of sexual and gender-based violence. Many refugees are now too afraid to go to work or carry out their day-to-day trade, despite having no alternative sources of income.”

Today, around 800 people have sought safety in community halls in Katlehong but many have said they want to return home to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, Mr Yaxley said. (UNI)