South Africa must pass a Hate Crimes law, sign and ratify the International Convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families, as one of the measures to deal with xenophobia
28 Mar 2008
The Human Rights Commission reiterates its concern about the scourge of xenophobic violent attacks and brutal murders of foreign nationals and would like to recommend the following in dealing with this challenge to the country's constitutional democracy:
* That South Africa should ratify the International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families. Under this Convention migrant workers are entitled to enjoy their human rights regardless of their legal status. The Convention reflects an up-to-date understanding of migratory trends as seen from the point of view of both states of origin and host states of migrant workers and their families.
This Convention also seeks to play a role in preventing and eliminating the exploitation of migrant workers throughout the entire migration process. In particular, it seeks to put an end to the illegal or clandestine recruitment and trafficking of migrant workers and to discourage the employment of migrant workers in an irregular or undocumented situation. It provides a set of binding international standards to address the treatment, welfare and human rights of both documented and undocumented migrants, as well as the obligations and responsibilities on the part of sending and receiving states.
* That South Africa must pass a Hate Crime Law, as the country is a state party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The committee to the convention has requested South Africa to enact this law in order to deal with challenges of discrimination based on race or national origin, sex, language, or religion.
* That the promotional aspects of the Equality Act be brought into immediate effect. This will ensure that the responsibility to promote equality is shared between the Commission, government and other stakeholders.
* That training on tolerance and Xenophobia should be part of the school curriculum to inculcate a culture of respect for other people's human rights from an early age. In addition to the training that the commission has provided to members of the police service xenophobia, more members should be trained.
Furthermore, the commission has taken note of Member of Parliament, Mr Reuben Mohlaloga's comments that it has done nothing to deal with xenophobia, and will engage and challenge him on this matter.
The commission calls on South Africans to at the very least, be tolerant and understanding towards fellow beings as we members of the human race and therefore, must respect the rights of others, in the same way each of us would want our rights to be respected, and calls upon all role players and stakeholders to assist in dealing with factors which encourage xenophobia such poverty and inequality.
Issued by: South African Human Rights Commission
28 Mar 2008
Source: South African Human Rights Commission (http://www.sahrc.org.za/)