100 signatures reached
To: Minister of Home Affairs
Sign the Pledge for a human-rights-based inclusive South Africa!
Across the world, there are movements of people seeking refuge from war, political threats, religious oppression, subjugation of women, torture and imprisonment, poverty and other circumstances which threaten their freedom and their lives. Africa is no exeception and South Africa is one of the places to which those under threat come in search of safety and protection. Our Refugees Act, 130 of 1998, is a highly-respected piece of legislation, drafted only after extensive consultation, and based on the best human-rights based principles of our much-praised Constitution and international policies and guidelines for the management of asylum-seekers and refugees.
We are concerned, therefore, that the proposed Refugees Amendment Bill of August 2015, which has been drafted by your department, seeks to limit the rights and protections afforded to asylum-seekers, creating requirements that will be much more difficult to meet.
These are people already traumatised by their experiences and their involuntary displacement from their own countries. It is not for us to make things even worse for them by imposing conditions that are difficult to meet and restrictions which make it diffcult to survive.
We call on you to reject the Refugees Amendment Bill in its current form and to instruct your department to maintain the human rights-based integirty of the Act and, where necessary, introduce only changes which will assist the department to extend a welcoming and facilitating hand to asylum-seekers more effectively.
In 1994, South Africa emerged from decades of being regarded as a 'pariah state', notorious for its disregard for human rights. Let us not regress towards a situation where other countries in the world, however hypocritcally, once again accuse our country of discriminating against people because of their origins.
Both the Freedom Charter and the new Constitution say that 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it'. Both documents emphasise the human rights of all people. Let's remain true to them as we continue to assess the best ways of managing the infow of people into our country from elsewhere.
As part of our campaign, we are calling on everyone to sign our Pledge, a document which sets out the kind of South Africa we would like to live in. We call on you to endorse the Pledge and to be guided by its human rights objectives as you deliberate the challenges of your portfolio.
The People's Coalition Against Xenophobia.
Why is this important?
in April 2015, the People's Coalition Against Xenophobia was formed in response to a spate of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals livinig in the South African provinces of Gauteng, North West and Kawzulu Natal. The Coalition organised a very successful march of 30 000 people through the streets of Johannesburg, calling for an end to xenophobia and all other forms of discrimination.
Xenophobia did not only happen in 2008 and 2015, two terrible periods of concentrated attacks on foreign nationals, some of whom were killed, whose spaza shops, other businesses and homes were looted and destroyed. Xenophobic acts against foreign nationals are happening all the time - however, many are not known about because they are not reported. The Coalition therefore believes that there needs to be ongoing work done to rid our country of xenophobic tendencies and to encourage social cohesion and inclusion. We recognise, too, that what is happening in South Africa is happening across the world, in the Mediterranean where refugees from North Africa and Syria are dying in their thousands as they battle to find sanctuary, in other parts of Africa where refugees are expelled or poorly treated, in the USA where Donald Trump is calling for an 'apartheid' wall to be built along the border with Mexico to keep foreign nationals out. We need a more caring, welcoming world.
For this reason, the Coalition has drafted a Pledge which is based on the pricinples of caring, ubuntu and human rights for all. We are calling on all those who are committed to an inclusive, integrated society to sign this Pledge and send a strong message to South Africa and the world that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. In the words of Nelson Mandela: "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world."
By joining this campaign, you will be endorsing the letter to the Minister of Home Affairs and signing the "Sibantu Banye / We are one people" Pledge. You will be sending a powerful message, confirming that you are joining the milliions of people in South Africa and the world who are committed to a human-rights based world in which discrimination, oppression and exploitation will not be tolerated.
"SIBANTU BANYE / WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" PLEDGE
• The Constitution of South Africa, especially the rights contained therein of all people to respect, human dignity and equality
• Respect for the rule of law
• Respect for international law
• Promotion of human rights for all people
• Respect for the rights of women, children and vulnerable populations
• Ubuntu and mutual respect between all peoples
• Social and spatial Integration of South Africans and people from elsewhere
• Safety and freedom of movement for citizens and people from elsewhere
• An inclusive and peaceful hosting environment for asylum-seekers, refugees and all other migrants in solidarity with their plight
• The ‘right to work’ for asylum-seekers, refugees and all other migrants
• Xenophobia, Afrophobia and any other form of discrimination against individuals and groups
• Denialism of the existence of xenophobic attitudes and practices
• Violence (physical and/or verbal) by anyone towards anyone
• Legislation which is inconsistent with the Constitution of South Africa and with international practice in respect of asylum-seekers, refugees and other migrants
• Institutionalised xenophobic practices which persist despite court rulings against them and public statements denying that such practices exist
• Refugee “camps” and border refugee processing
• Unlawful detention of asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants and current inhumane immigration detention practices
• Unlawful and unreasonable deportations and return of asylum-seekers and refugees to places of danger
WE CALL ON ALL IN SOUTH AFRICA TO
• Read out and endorse this pledge
• Defend the Constitution, practise ubuntu, and promote international solidarity
• Act against xenophobia and all other forms of discrimination
• Speak out against the denial of basic human rights of both citizens and people from elsewhere
• Support the welcome and integration into our communities of refugees and migrants ﬂeeing persecution, war and economic challenges
• Take a stand and join the People’s Coalition Against Xenophobia to campaign against attacks on foreign nationals.
The People's Coalition Against Xenophobia - [email protected]