HRW calls for prosecution of perpetrators of xenophobic violence in South Africa

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People sit with their belongings as over a hundred foreign nationals gather to discuss the way forward after they were left to fend for themselves, on April 3, 2019 at a park near the Musjid-us-Saliheen Mosque in Sherwood, Durban, after foreign nationals were displaced following xenophobic attacks. - Such attacks have become increasingly common in recent years in South Africa, the most developed sub-Saharan economy, as immigrants bear the brunt of anger resulting from chronic unemployment and limited progress made by many poor black people since white-minority rule ended in 1994. The country hosts millions of foreigners, most from African countries and many of them undocumented. (Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
People sit with their belongings as over a hundred foreign nationals gather to discuss the way forward after they were left to fend for themselves, on April 3, 2019 at a park near the Musjid-us-Saliheen Mosque in Sherwood, Durban, after foreign nationals were displaced following xenophobic attacks. (Photo credit RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Human Rights Watch wants authorities in South Africa to investigate, arrest and prosecute people behind attacks on foreigners in Durban.

HRW noted that violence against foreigners appears to be on the rise in the run-up to elections set for May 8.

“Re-integration of foreign nationals into communities without justice and accountability for past xenophobic attacks is a recipe for disaster. To deter those who attack foreign nationals, there is an urgent need for effective policing, arrests, and prosecutions,” HRW said on its website.

HRW cites three incidents between March 25 and April 2 in which foreigners were attacked, displaced or had their property vandalised. HRW provides witness statements as evidence of the incidents.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it had received reports of at least six foreigners killed and several others injured in Durban between March 25 and 27.

HRW says it is working to verify the exact circumstances of six reported deaths between March 25 and 27.

HRW urged leaders and political parties to avoid statements that fuel division and incite violence against foreigners or promote discrimination.

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