●South Africa: Xenophobia refugee related information – URLs [if available]
LATEST information on the South African xenophobia refugee status of affairs – articles and URLs to articles on the ongoing dreadful saga.
I am entering them as I receive them [via email] I wish there was a website I could give you where you can find all the following info if I find one i will post it here as many of the entries do not have links. All articles like this will be entered at the bottom of the URL links so you can read them some of the documents are PDF files so unfortunately I am unable to copy and paste them here.
● Many thanks to Tracy Saunders for keeping us updated
If you wish to contact her peace4africa [at] g mail [dot] com
Mobile: +27 084 561 9131
Fax: 0 8 6 6 1 1 -7 1 6 7
● At pains to leave SA Mail & Guardian Online [4.5.09]
● South Africa countering xenophobia with help of UN refugee agency [4.5.09]
● Xenophobia: the bill By Anel Powell – 27th Nov 08 The City of Cape Town spent at least R108-million on relief to victims of xenophobia, but so far has only been reimbursed R17-million by the provincial and national governments. City chief financial officer Mike Richardson said the R91-million shortfall, which had to be siphoned from various council departments, would affect their budgets. Housing mayoral committee member Dan Plato said the money used for xenophobia relief measures were needed for other projects…….
● [Scroll down on next page to see all entries – there are lots unfortunately] “We need to tell citizens out there that we can’t afford to spend money like this.” In a report to the city’s mayoral committee on Tuesday, Johan Steyl of the finance department said the city submitted reimbursement claims of R70,7-million, R5,6-million and R32-million to the the province and national government. “The claims related to actual costs incurred,” Steyl said. The claims were submitted in June, August and September. Since then, the city has racked up a further R1,9-million in xenophobia-related costs. Meanwhile, the department of provincial and local government said in a letter to the provincial disaster management centre that the National Treasury had approved an amount of R12,8-million for the provincial departments and R17,3-million for the City of Cape Town. Steyl said it was not clear whether this amount would cover all claims, including costs incurred after the submission of the last invoices, or only a part of the claims. The city was then told by the National Treasury that the allocation was evaluated on the basis of whether the claim was reasonable and whether the expenditure was deemed appropriate. Steyl said the city did not make provision in its budgets for the xenophobic attacks, which erupted without warning in May. Relief measures, including shelter and support for the thousands of people who were displaced and housed in safety sites, put the budgets of the city’s departments “under considerable strain”. email@example.com http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4731060 This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on November 26, 2008 – Published on the Web by IOL on 2008-11-26 06:05:00 .
●Three held in fight for food at troubled camp – By Craig McKune 17th November 2008 A pregnant woman and two men have been arrested in a spat about food at the Blue Waters refugee camp and 36 families are now living without electricity or food services. Several people said the mood at the two Blue Waters camps – Sites B and C – had been tense at the weekend because of frustration and hunger Site B’s food supplies and electricity services were cut off last week, with city spokesperson Pieter Cronje saying all those seeking reintegration assistance had been processed. A man allegedly assaulted in the food scuffle at the weekend had pressed charges, leading to the arrests, volunteer Tracey Saunders said. Police spokesperson Billy Jones said the woman and two men were being held at the Strandfontein police station. He could give no further details because the arrests had been made by Metro Police. Metro Police spokesperson Nowellen Petersen was unable to give details on Sunday. Cronje said that officials were in the final stages of processing applications for reintegration assistance at Site C. Services would continue there until the process had been completed. Somali spokesperson Asad Abdullahi said that of the 750 people remaining at the camps, most were too afraid to return to communities. Their fears have been compounded by a number of murders, rapes, and robberies and incidents involving intimidation of people who chose to become reintegrated into communities. Abdullahi said most of the migrants in the camps would rather return to their home countries, including Somalia and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where fighting between government and rebel forces has flared. Olivier Beer, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has made it clear, however, that, under the international convention, repatriation to war-torn areas is not an option. Relocation to a third country was an option, he said, but entailed a process that could take months or even years. The only option for those who could not be repatriated was reintegration. “People are worried and sad,” Abdullahi said. “They have been waiting a long time to get back to their countries.” Yves Bonyeme, from the DRC, who has taken the first steps to reintegration, said he and many others were struggling to find work and to get by on the reintegration assistance. He is staying at the Azaad centre in Cape Town with more than 20 other men, most of them single, from the Youngsfield camp. The accommodation has been arranged by civil society groups. Although the Youngsfield camp has been closed and without services for several weeks, scores of migrants remain there, surviving on donated food. Many of them are children. A conference opening at the University of Cape Town on Monday is to discuss the role religions may play in overcoming xenophobia. Its aim is to devise a civic education programme to promote a “welcoming” attitude to “strangers”. The conference has been organised by the Committee for Theological Dialogue. Contact John Oliver at 082 733 3500 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. email@example.com This article was originally published on page 6 of The Cape Times on November 17, 2008 http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4716092
● ● ●
● Pretoria: Shack & pack for refugees – Charity Mission opens its heart by McKeed Kotlolo The Sowetan – 3rd November 2008 Twenty one families who were victims of xenophobic attacks in Mamelodi, Pretoria have gone back to the communities that looted their homes and businesses. The 21 families spent seven months staying in a community hall at Stanza Bopape informal settlement. But on Saturday they were bussed to their homes in the Phomolong informal settlement and each of them got a shack, a starter pack comprising of a mattress, blankets, food, clothes and some furniture. The re-integration project is the brainchild of the Charity and Faith Mission which brought in the Tshwane Metro Municipality , Mamelodi Sundowns FC and the Department of Social Development as partners. Read on @ http://www.sowetan.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=876300
● Shut out and sent home by PEARLIE JOUBERT CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – Oct 31 2008 13:27 Two foreign nationals were killed and a Congolese woman raped in townships in the Western Cape this week as the authorities prepared to close all the refugee camps on Friday. Services will be cut off to the 600 people who are still living in them. But frantic last-minute negotiations between civil society groups and city officials, including Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown, were under way to halt the closure of the camps……… To read the rest of the article – go here: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-10-31-shut-out-and-sent-home Mail & Guardian Online
● Keep the Camps open – TAC Threat to interdict state over refugees by Anna Majavu – 30 October 2008 The Treatment Action Campaign and Aids Law Project is threatening to interdict the city of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial government for “violating the constitutional rights of displaced people to dignity, security, food, health care, and shelter”. The TAC and ALP want government to provide a written guarantee not to close the last remaining displaced peoples’ camp tomorrow. The provincial government, controlled by the ANC, and the city of Cape Town, controlled by the DA, are both unanimous that they will shut down the last camp, Blue Waters, tomorrow. There are still about 1000 displaced people in the camps. In a letter to Western Cape premier Lynne Brown and Cape Town mayor Helen Zille, TAC’s lawyers told the government to leave Blue Waters open until every person was able to reintegrate or be repatriated. The TAC and ALP also want the government to either “restore all services to Youngsfield”, the camp that was closed last Friday, or “transfer all people remaining at Youngsfield to Blue Waters”, the last remaining camp. The TAC also slammed the government’s decision to force displaced people to accept a “one-size-fits-all reintegration process, which takes no account of particular circumstances or dangers”. Many displaced people in Cape Town have agreed to be repatriated but want to remain in the camps until they can leave the country. The government insists that displaced people must “reintegrate first, repatriation will follow”. Brown’s spokesman, An Wentzel, said the premier had not received the TAC’s letter. Zille said: “We don’t have the resources or capacity to keep the sites open indefinitely. The closure of the sites marks the end of a very challenging episode in our city.” Olivier Beer of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) did not respond to messages from Sowetan. [emial – no links sorry]
● Displaced N Cape foreigners to leave SA Foreign nationals displaced after xenophobic attacks October 29, 2008, 17:15 A group of foreign nationals are heading back to their countries of origin after being accommodated in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. The foreigners were displaced after the unrestrained violent outbreak of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng in May that shook the country and the world. More than 60 victims were left dead and some 10 000 others displaced, while some were sent to safe havens. Some of the survivors ended up in the Kimberley Soul City RDP residential area. But the appalling conditions at the shelters are forcing them to make a plan elsewhere, and 16 of the 28 are returning to their home countries. Some are accusing the Red Cross of ignoring their general welfare at the height of violent attacks. Recently, the South African Red Cross rallied to the call to support the victims. For some time it donated consignments of food, clothing and hygiene packs. But now the organisation says it cannot help any longer. “We know that it’s been a challenge to accommodate them at one place but it was at least to cover them for some time but now we’re speeding up the process to integrate them into society and most of them will be leaving,” says Ronel Khumalo, a SA Red Cross representative. For the foreigners, Kimberley was peaceful but now, they have to leave for Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the DRC. [emailed to me – no links sorry] —
● Cape Town Mayor, Helen Zille’s take on xenophobia refugees’ status – Wednesday, 29th October, 2008 Extract from a speech given by the Mayor at a Council Meeting on the 29th October at 10am “Mr Speaker, I would like to welcome councillors, officials, members of the media and members of the public to today’s meeting. Before we turn our attention to the agenda, there are several issues affecting the City that I would like to raise. Firstly, we are reaching the end of our programme to address the aftermath of May’s outbreaks of xenophobic violence, a programme which we have implemented in partnership with the National and Provincial governments, the United Nations and NGOs. Over the past 5 months, the initial total of people seeking shelter in five safety sites, 15 community halls and other private shelters, has dropped from around 20 000 to around 1 100, with the majority being single men. There are no remaining displaced people in community halls, and we have closed the safety sites at Soetwater, Silwerstroom, Harmony Park and Youngsfield military base. The remaining site, Blue Waters, is scheduled to close this Friday, 31 October. There are still approximately 140 people staying in Youngsfield who either need to be reintegrated into the communities of Cape Town or repatriated. There were 608 when the closure process started a few days ago. Some of the remaining group in Youngsfield entered the site in the past week hoping for financial assistance. Most of the people who have been there for longer have been given many opportunities to relocate and have declined the assistance. Youngsfield is officially de-registered. This means government will not supply food and other services except those services that relate to health such as sanitation. Food by volunteer groups will be allowed. Some media reports said that food brought by volunteers was being turned away at Youngsfield. While our site management is not aware of any cases where this took place, let me state that we will not deny people food and will take care of children. Once Blue Waters is closed, the provision of food, shelter and other services to displaced people by government will cease. The bulk of the remaining displaced people have accepted help from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to repatriate or relocate to communities. This includes repatriation or reintegration assistance, in the form of rental grants from the UNHCR, food parcels, and transport to communities. A minority has refused all assistance. Since the repatriation process is a very lengthy one, those individuals who wish to be repatriated, will first be reintegrated into local communities, and the UNHCR will process their repatriation applications from there. The fact that the last of the sites will close should come as no surprise. Dates for closure have been communicated repeatedly in personal meetings with people staying in the sites, in pamphlets and through news media. We have also made it clear from the outset that the safety sites were never designed as a permanent solution. We do not have the resources or capacity to keep them open indefinitely. We need to be fair and equitable when it comes to the provision of municipal services, especially in a city where so many residents, both South Africans and foreign nationals, lack basic services. The closure of the safety sites marks the end of a very challenging episode in our city and in other parts of the country. I thank the city officials, Provincial Government, the UNHCR, and the NGOs who worked constructively to address this situation, especially HDI Support, Mustadafin Foundation, the Salvation Army, the South African Red Cross Society and the South African National Zakah Fund…” ISSUED BY: COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT, CAPE TOWN MEDIA ENQUIRIES: ROBERT MACDONALD, MAYORS OFFICE, CELL: 084 977 9888
● Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System – By Nthambeleni Gabara 28 Oct 2008 BuaNews http://www.buanews.gov.za/news/08/08102813151005
● A letter has been sent by TAC lawyers to government regarding the closure of camps in the WC without a proper plan for shelter etc for those waiting for appropriate assistance to leave the camps / SA. contact TAC to send it to you – it’s a PDF file so i can’t paste it here TAC (021) 422 1490 Cape Town [28.10.08]
● Countdown begins for refugees – By Craig McKune and Flora Wisdorff [28.10.08] Counting down to this Friday’s closure of the last safety camp, asylum seekers and refugees say they are uncertain and confused about what to do next. And at Youngsfield – which closed officially last Friday – 150 people are without food, medication and electricity. Speaking at Blue Waters, Willy Tchitembo from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said people were worried. ‘They don’t know what to do and what will happen to them’ “They don’t know what to do and what will happen to them.” “I was so surprised to hear (of the upcoming closure) last Friday. Where will I go?” said a another man from the DRC who did not wish to be named. Provincial Disaster Management head Hildegard Fast said of the camp closures: “We took a policy decision a long time ago, and we are just being consistent. We really feel we’ve given them the opportunity to take the options we’ve offered.” Fast said those asking only now to be repatriated would have to wait for their applications to be processed. This could take up to two months. Until then, they would have to be relocated. ‘This is not a game, it is about our lives’ Tshanguvu Makala at Blue Waters said he wanted to be re-integrated or repatriated and resettled in a third country. “This is not a game, it is about our lives.” If the camp is closed on Friday and he has to reintegrate, he said, “I will rather take the R750 (rent assistance) and march on foot to Zimbabwe”. Ben Ilunga, spokesperson for Youngsfield Organisation, said of those remaining at the camp on Monday, about 100 wanted to be reintegrated, 50 hoped for repatriation and 10 were undecided. “The camps should be closed only once the process has been done properly. But the reintegration process has failed,” said Ilunga. Fast said while electricity to the camp was cut yesterday and food had been stopped on Friday, they were not stopping sanitation services because of health issues. Aside from those who she said had sneaked into the camp to get financial assistance, “the 120 who have been there all along were given opportunities to apply for relocation assistance, but they declined. Others that accepted this have already been relocated.” National Assembly Deputy Speaker Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge visited Youngsfield on Sunday and, said Fast, is currently engaging with Disaster Management and the city on the camp closure procedure. “The sites have to close, but in a dignified manner,” said Judith Cohen, parliamentary liaison at the South African Human Rights Commission. “Government may have to cut services, but they cannot literally starve people out.” Anne-Marie Robb a volunteer at Youngsfield, was particularly worried about vulnerable people in the camp. She said one woman living at the camp had a baby on Friday, another was close to giving birth and three people were on medication which had to be taken with food. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com This article was originally published on page 6 of The Cape Times on October 28, 2008 Published on the Web by IOL on 2008-10-28 05:47:00
● Bluewaters update Monday 27 October There were some press at the camp today. Govt officials are not due till Tuesday. The volunteers now understand that the govt mean business and will close Bluewaters (both camps) on Friday. This is based on observations on how they carried out the closure of Youngsfield camp last Friday, leaving 159 people there with no where to go. They are now sleeping rough with the gates locked, and volunteers are not allowed in to bring food. So, the other volunteer and I went about telling the refugees the reality of their situation today. There were many tears, with the general sentiment being ‘I cant stay in South Africa, I want to go back to my country’. People had been told that they could stay in Bluewaters until their repatriation was organized. They didn’t expect to be evicted and sent back to the communities from which they fled. There is a lot of fear. What struck me most was the blank expressions in peoples eyes and on their faces when I explained that the tents will be taken down, water turned off, and food deliveries from govt and volunteers stopped. Incredulous and shocked. One women (5 months pregnant as a result of a xenophobic attack) just sat and quietly wept. She then asked me, ‘ when the tents are taken down, will you leave us? “I will rather starve here in the hot sun and wait to be repatriated to Somalia, than go back to Khayelitsha she said. Another Congolese women with a baby on her back cried and cried, saying ‘I cant stay in South Africa, I just want to go back to my country. She wants to go back to the Eastern part of the Congo where yesterday 20,000 people fled another bout of fresh fighting which flared up in August of this year. I spoke to another Congolese woman with her beautiful 7 day old baby. This young mother of 3 looked at me with a blank expression and said ‘where must we go’? With a payment of R500 and no transport from this desolate beach site, how can the most vulnerable be expected to find somewhere to live before Friday, when they will be left like those in Youngsfield? I was told that a 3 day old baby had been found. A little boy ran up to me and asked me if I wanted to ‘see his baby?” He took me into a tent, and there, was the most beautiful, tiny little baby boy. Somehow nobody knew that his mother had given birth in hospital on Friday and arrived back at the camp on Saturday. She is a first time single mother from Rwanda who cannot speak any English. She had obstetric complications which need follow up, but has no access to transport and no money to pay for transport even if she was in a more central location. She is extremely vulnerable. I will drive mother and baby to a clinic tomorrow for a thorough check. The closure of this camp is going to be the most difficult because it is the most vulnerable people who have remained. Those who are HIV positive, those with TB, mothers of young children and babies, the elderly and those people who have been extremely traumatized by multiple rapes and severe beatings, and those who have witnessed their families being killed in their countries of origin and here. Later I went back to the Congolese woman who had cried with me earlier. She is breastfeeding her tiny baby and I wanted to bring her some some milk and nutritional powder feed. She cried at my kindness, and I felt so inadequate. Trying to leave the camp to collect my kids I was stopped by a gentle Ethiopian man (with a diploma in information technology) man who told me his story of being caught in the war in Ethiopia and how he traveled from country to country on his way to South Africa, which he thought was the promised land. He is so deeply disappointed with the South African people. He spoke to me with the most blank face, incredulous that this would really happen in 4 days time. “There is something wrong with these people, the South Africans. How can they do this? ‘What about the innocent children” he kept saying. “Tell me, why do you integrate with black people? I thought the white South Africans don’t mix with black people?” he asked. I explained that I am a foreigner too. A young man joined our conversation – 24 year old Burundian, well educated, and very articulate. He again, was unemotional, shocked, and kept asking ‘what am I to do?’ “I know if I go back to Burundi I will have to be a soldier, I don’t want to be a soldier, but I have no option. I cant stay in South Africa. I will be killed here. I saw my family killed in Burundi. If I am going to die I would rather die there. I just want to go back to my country but how? I don’t have any money” I have never felt so helpless. I know that I will leave the camp on Friday, seeing hundreds of shell shocked, abandoned people in my rear view mirror. And I can only help a handful. I feel that I have failed so many of them. My Mozambican friend who lives in Masiphumele tells me that he is being hunted down by a group of men daily. He is living in fear of his life every minute he spends there. Please please contact me and I can tell you how you can help. People need practical help – the vulnerable need someone out there to call if they need help, they need help to find accommodation, help with CVs, transport, so much, when they have only the clothes on their back, and not even a bag to carry them in. Jo – 082 0438644 ● On my way to the camp this morning I met a Somalian man walking along the beach road. I picked him up and he told me he had walked from False Bay Hospital – to Blue waters! He told me he had a stomach ulcer, and that in the hospital they did not give him any medication. Luckily I had some ulcer medication with me which I gave him. I arrived to meet a Rwandan woman who I have known since the Soetwater days. She was sick again with a severe urinary tract infection for which she has been attending a clinic in Groote Schuur for the last 2 years – attending a gynae clinic, where the condition is clearly a urinary condition. She had returned to the camp following her family’s second attempt to reintegrate back to Samora Michel. Their car was stoned and the windows of their house broken. She says she doesn’t know what to do now. Perhaps “I just must die”, she said with a blank face. I took her to my own GP to get some proper treatment. I had another Rwandan woman with me, and her 4 day old baby. I wanted a postnatal check for mother and neonatal check for baby, as baby was low birth weight. This quietly spoken Rwandan woman speaks no English and has been abandoned by the babies father. She is 21. When we were out I gave them lunch. Agathe didn’t eat, as she was fasting today as a commitment to god. I suggested that god would understand if she postponed the fast for another day, as this was the only decent meal she had been offered for 6 months. She wasn’t prepared to break her promise, so instead I gave her some food to bring back to the camp which she can eat when she breaks her fast tomorrow evening. A young woman from DRC came to me, 21 years old and 6 months pregnant as a result of a rape during the Xenophobic attacks. She was seen once in a clinic immediately after the attacks. I have no idea if she was given medication for STDs or anti retrovirals. She had not had any prenatal care at all. Her husband has abandoned her also. She is supported by her brother. The pregnant women are lucky to have had 1 antenatal check throughout the whole 9 months of the pregnancy. The newborn babies are just left, and assumed to be OK unless I drive them to a clinic. I brought our other newborn (8 days old) to a private GP in Strandfontein on Monday. Mother and baby doing fine. It’s a miracle that the babies are being born as healthy as they are considering the poor living conditions, that the mothers are being subjected to, not to mention the stress. How can any decent human being decide to withdraw all food supplies, and furthermore block all food donation from coming into the camp? Once Friday comes this is the plan. They successfully blocked voluntary donations of food to Youngsfield camp over the weekend. I am aware at this stage that I need a concrete list of all the pregnant and breastfeeding women, so that we can keep track of them, whether they remain on the site or ‘reintegrate’. Its all been a bit haphazard till now, as I am firefighting whenever I am in the camp. If anybody knows of anyone I need to know about please let me know. I have given the names of the vulnerable people I have encountered to Trauma dept. I arranged for the owner of a security company which operates in the Fishhoek valley to come to the camp today to ‘interview’ people who have registration to work as a security guard. I found 5 people with the registration certificate. He has said that they can start work as soon as they have accommodation in masiphumele. That is 4 men and 1 woman who have definite jobs, if they can find the accommodation. Can anybody suggest where I should start looking for accommodation in Masi? Jo If anyone is able to assist Jo please contact me at peace4africa [at] g m a i l [dot] com ● WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CAPE TOWN IS A DISGRACE! [28.10.08] (see CTCC press statement below) Write and call your local councillor, the Mayor, Premier, Parliament and the international community for help. Beg them to protect people displaced by xenophobic mobs and xenophobic violence in SA, plead with them to uphold the values of our Constitution and international law. I am not sure upon what legal basis the City, Province and JOC can cut all services, close off the camps without an alternative plan for those waiting for reintegration assistance and those still waiting for the UNHCR (and in some cases IOM) to repatriate them – a few hundred genuinely displaced people people need shelter, water and food and they are being punished for the delays in reintegration and repatriation assistance by government and the UNHCR (and IOM). Those who applied for assistance and who are waiting for that assistance cannot be punished by the delays of others. They are now being denied shelter and food. Yes, there a few people who did not make decisions quickly – but what do you expect? Would you, after losing everything, and losing your dignity, staying in camps with poor conditions for several months make a speedy decision to reintegrate or repatriate or even try to apply for resettlement given the active discouragement of the latter option? With further shameful attacks on foreign nationals after reintegration commenced and after enduring months of trauma and anxiety, would you have made a decision to reintegrate or repatriate on an informed basis- speedily? And if you made a decision and are waiting for assistance to exercise that decision should you be forced to leave the camp without having an alternative shelter to stay in until then ? Yes camps are not a permanent solution (and they are inhumane) but until such time people can leave the camps or SA properly you cannot force them out without alternative shelter. Government says the “dates for closure have been communicated repeatedly in personal meetings with displaced people, in pamphlets and through news media” – so what? A one size fits all approach cannot be realistic – even if dates were communicated (with little consultation about dates), the realities on the ground (delays with reintegration and repatriation) require a reasonable and rational plan and especially alternative shelter until such time every person is reintegrated, repatriated or resettled (this is what the Constitutional Court said in the Gauteng case). This is what our Constitution requires. Under international law you have a RIGHT to seek assistance with reintegration (some people have chosen this option and have already reintegrated or are waiting for assistance to do so) the right to seek repatriation (some people have chosen this and are waiting for the UNHCR and IOM to complete the process and repatriate them- this could take another 6 weeks) the right to apply for resettlement (some people have applied for this and the UNHCR is apparently busy processing applications ). yes, some people are undecided, but they should be counselled to make informed decisions. So until such time every person is reintegrated, repatriated or reintegrated (and made a decision about their future) is it not premature to close camps and cut of all services including food supplies by volunteers and amazing Samaritans without any other plan for shelter (open a community hall) ? After all, xenophobic mobs displaced them – they did not displace themselves. They are the VICTIMS of xenophobia. The most baffling thing is that a person who was told to choose between reintegration and repatriation and is now waiting for the latter to happen through the UNHCR or IOM is being forced back into communities when they have CHOSEN repatriation. Is it not foolish, immoral and unlawful to give people choices and options under international law (repatriation, reintegrate, resettle) and then force whoever is left in the camps to reintegrate [“All people who want to repatriate, will have to relocate to communities first”]because it does not fit in with governments plans for closure of the camps? At Youngsfield, the camp has been closed, services cut off yet about 160 people remain there and are now reliant on humanitarian agencies for food and other services. Government wants to do the same to Blue Waters by this Friday. Should the UNHCR in exercising its protection mandate under international law not tell our government that it is acting prematurely and protect those people it is meant to by making safe shelter available for those waiting for repatriation ? Should the SAHRC be saying so, should Amnesty International, should other UN agencies, should Human Rights Watch, should we, should you ? Is it the job of civil society to feed, clothe and shelter people displaced by the XENOPHOBIC violence –again? NOTE: TAC and ALP have started to try and find alternative shelter for these few hundred people in mosques and churches, food supplies from volunteers and philanthropists (thank you Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies and organisations for taking food to Youngsfield in the last few days) and to make available other services… we are struggling, so we hope you will help too. Fatima Hassan Cape Town CITY OF CAPE TOWN
● MEDIA RELEASE 28 OCTOBER 2008 YOUNGSFIELD CLOSED, SAFETY SITE CLOSURES PROCEEDING The safety site at Youngsfield military base has been officially closed. Blue Waters near Muizenberg is scheduled to close this Friday, 31 October. There are 147 people remaining at Youngsfield. Some have entered the site in the past week in the expectation of financial assistance. Most of the remaining people have been given many opportunities to relocate and have to date declined the assistance. At the start of the closure process there were 608 people in Youngsfield of which the majority have relocated. All people who want to repatriate, will have to relocate to communities first. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will process their repatriation applications from there. The UNHCR has been assisting government since the outbreak of violence and looting on 22 May this year. They have assisted those who wish to repatriate or reintegrate into communities, and have provided other assistance such as tents and technical expertise. Once Blue Waters is closed, the provision of food, shelter and other services to displaced people by government will cease. The fact that the sites will close and dates for closure have been communicated repeatedly in personal meetings with displaced people, in pamphlets and through news media. The disaster which led to the establishment of the safety sites is over and the five month long process is wrapping up. The safety sites were never designed as a permanent solution. From an initial total of some 20 000 displaced people in five safety sites, community halls and other private shelters, only approximately 1 100 people remain, with the majority being single men. There are no displaced people in community halls. The vast majority of the displaced people have made use of various forms of assistance to move out and to return to their countries or communities. This includes repatriation or reintegration assistance (rental assistance from the UNHCR, a food parcel, and transport to communities). A minority has refused all assistance. END ISSUED BY: COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT, CITY OF CAPE TOWN MEDIA QUERIES: Dr Hildegarde Fast, Provincial Government, Cell: 082 441 2149 Pieter Cronje , City of Cape Town , Cell: 082 465 4965 NOTE: This e-mail (including attachments) is subject to the disclaimer published at: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Pages/disclaimer.aspx. Please read the disclaimer before opening any attachment or taking any other action in terms of this e-mail. If you cannot access the disclaimer, kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a copy will be provided to you. By replying to this e-mail or opening any attachment you agree to be bound by the provisions of the disclaimer.
● Researchers Seek Answers to Country’s Xenophobic Orgy – By Wilson Johwa – Business Day (Johannesburg) 27 October 2008 Search page – for article – no URL for it @ 7:30 GMT http://www.businessday.co.za/search/results.aspx
● Refugees go hungry after camp closes – By Francis Hweshe October 27, 2008 Despite the closure of the Youngsfield safety site in Wynberg last Friday, 160 refugees remain in the camp awaiting repatriation or reintegration and many claim that they have not eaten for two days. The group on Sunday accused authorities of starving them in a bid to drive them out of the camp. http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4682370
● Refusal of government to move remaining people to Blue Waters camp or to feed them amonst other things @ press conference
URGENT PRESS CONFERENCE – There will be a press conference at the ALP offices on Tuesday 28 October at 16:00 Highlighted will be the closure on Friday 24 October of Youngsfield camp (and the refusal of government to move remaining people to Blue Waters camp or to feed them). Also addressed will be the impending closure of the last camp, Blue Waters on Friday 31 October 2008.
16:00 Tuesday 28 October ALP Office – 4th Floor 122 Longmarket Street Cape Town For further information Contact: Scott Dunlop TAC Communications Officer (021) 422 1490 cell: +27 (0)84 719 8258
● Diaspora Diaries 21.10.08 – MP3 file http://www.swradioafrica.2bctnd.net/10_08/dd211008.mp3
● Refugees at Youngsfield refuse to leave – By Helen Bamford The Cape Times http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4680181
● ‘Home affairs broke the law’ – By Craig McKune “The department has agreed to renew the permits of all asylum seekers who were waiting for their applications to be processed.” The Cape Times http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4674654 ● ‘Eight guards attacked us on train’ – By Lavern de Vries The Cape Times http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4674654
● Housing policy was identified as an important trigger for the outbreak of xenophobic attacks, a report by the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) revealed. The Times http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=868545 Joint media release by the Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town –
● Progress with closure of Cape Town’s safety sites – 22 October 2008 to request? article from email@example.com
● NOTICE OF MOTION [legal document] ctviolence mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://maillist.tac.org.za/mailman/listinfo/ctviolence
● Stones fly at refugee centre – By Craig McKune and Flora Wisdorff The Cape Times http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4672780
● Cheque glitches leave refugees in limbo – By Francis Hweshe The Cape Argus http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4671729
● People of the South should be proud that their local police services and the Masiphumelele community took a proactive stance this weekend and worked together to avoid the situation escalating into another Soetwater. If you would like to get involved in the eMzantsi project to build commUNITY in the south peninsula, call Sam Pearce 021 789 1665 or email email@example.com. To see pictures of the Prayer March, go to http://emuc.ilocals.info ● Closing city camps looking unlikely – By Craig McKune Cape Times – http://www.capetimes.co.za/ no article url just an email address – maybe they will email it to you firstname.lastname@example.org
● ‘Why can’t we be given a police station?’ – By Craig McKune The Cape Times http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4669656
● Refugees fear more attacks and looting – By Helen Bamford The Cape Argus http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4666877
Filed under: UPDATE, XENOPHOBIA | Leave a Comment
Tags: articles, cape times, CAPE TOWN, Helen Zille, HUMAN RIGHTS, PEACE, pretoria, REFUGEES, TAC, the times, tranquility, URL's, XENOPHOBIA