Refugees inside the Cape Town Central Methodist church. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Friday said they do not believe that the actions of refugees -- who camped outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Cape Town and Pretoria -- were in the best interests of the refugees and their children who were exposed to numerous dangers by sleeping on the street.

The refugees were begging the UNHCR to remove them from South Africa.

The Commission said they view the events which led up to action by the South African Police Service (SAPS) as complex and the SAHRC would ensure that these actions were investigated to establish if human rights were violated.

"It is also concerning that the children were not getting the required education they need which is a fundamental human right. The SAHRC has been engaged in the issue and will continue to find a way to resolve this matter in a manner which is humane and protects the rights of everyone involved," the Commission said. 

On October 18, the Commission said they visited refugees where they were camping to hear their grievances and also met with UNHCR officials. 

The Commission learnt that the continuous and recent xenophobic attacks have made refugees residing in South Africa feel unsafe, thus they were demanding that UNHCR resettles them in other countries outside of South Africa.

After meeting with the key stakeholders they said the government will make available voluntary repatriation for refugees who were willing and able to go back to their country of origin.

"Those who feel that their lives are in danger would be provided alternative shelter and protection by UNHCR. The Department of Home Affairs would engage with each individual or family to check their status and issue relevant documents," the Commission said.

The Commission promised that they will continue in its efforts to find an amicable solution to the current situation.

African News Agency (ANA)