Johannesburg - South African authorities needed to tackle longstanding impunities to end its fight with xenophobia, Amnesty International South Africa's executive director, Shenilla Mohamed, said on Friday.
“Longstanding criminal justice failures and populist rhetoric are some of the reasons behind the latest round of xenophobic violence against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa," Mohamed said.
“For many years, South African authorities have largely failed to address past outbreaks of xenophobic crimes that have been seen in the country since at least 2008, including bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice. Political leaders must stop making discriminatory and inflammatory remarks about migrants and foreign nationals especially during their election campaigns ahead of the polls."
Mohamed said that rather than making comments that risked fanning the flames of xenophobia, South African authorities should act to counter stereotypes, eradicate discrimination and foster greater equality and social cohesion in South Africa.
“South African authorities must ensure effective protection for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers against xenophobic attacks. The government must take concrete steps to hold suspected perpetrators to account. That begins with tackling impunity for past xenophobia-related crimes.”