Xenophobia: Conditions in refugee camps horrific - EFF

Fighters say people housed without adequate blankets, mattresses, sanitation and security

The EFF calls on government to provide adequate services in refugee camps following the xenophobic violence

25 April 2015

The Economic Freedom Fighters has been visiting the camps established in Ethekwini following the xenophobic violence that struck the city in the past few weeks. The EFF has found that our people have been subjected to horrific living conditions without adequate blankets, mattresses, sanitation and security. People in these camps are without adequate water and toilets are not safe since they have been placed about a kilometre from the camps.

In the Isipingo camp, the refugees told the EFF of police harassment that resulted in one of the refugees being hospitalised. The EFF found people in the camp engaged in hunger strike following an assault of their own by the police, which resulted in hospitalisation. They cited this incident as one of many that prove the same hostility and violence they face from the police as they did outside the camps. They complain that the ANC government pretends to love them during the day, but harasses them at night using police.

Many of them are frustrated and feel that the government’s reintegration plan is being forced on them despite the fact that they still fear for their lives. Women also told the EFF of the difficulties their children have to endure as they have not been to school for some time. In essence, their experience is that government has taken them into these camps to now systematically administer suffering on them using police and the degrading living conditions.

The refugees appealed to the EFF to ask for the United Nations Refugee Agency to intervene as they do not feel safe in the hands of the South African government. They argued that without foreign observers more atrocities may be afflicted on them.

The EFF calls on the South African government to immediately provide adequate services in these camps. They must provide the same mobile toilets and water tanks they use in their lavish events. What has befallen these black foreign nationals is tantamount to crimes against humanity. The least the government can do is to give them decent treatment all human beings deserve.

The EFF further calls on police to stop the harassment and hostility towards our people. The government must also identify the educational needs of the school-going children and provide them with safe transportation and security in schools so that their learning is not interrupted.

The EFF will be writing to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to intervene and ensure that the South African government does not further increase the suffering of our people in these camps.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, April 25 2015