As Refugees, Asylum-seekers Protests Persist in S/Africa, UNHCR Intervenes

                                                                    * image: Google

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR Thursday appealled to refugees and asylum-seekers involved in the protests in Cape Town and Pretoria to respect the laws of the country. The Commissioner also urged  them to return peacefully to their residences in South Africa. UNHCR and its partners stand ready to provide assistance to those in need.

The UN Refugee Agency in a statement proffered that it  is closely following developments in front of its office in Cape Town, South Africa, where police – pursuant to a court order - is acting to address the protest by refugees and asylum-seekers. The police action is being undertaken after refugees and asylum seekers staged a sit-in protest since 8 October at UNHCR’s office in Cape Town.

UNHCR stated that it has  been engaging with the refugees and asylum-seekers since the onset of the protests, encouraging them to participate in constructive ,ialogue to address their grievances and find a peaceful resolution to the situation.

The UN Agency further added that its  received the concerns of the protesters with regard to personal safety, access to documentation, challenges accessing services and job opportunities. The protesters also expressed demands for resettlement, which is only available for a limited number of very vulnerable refugees.

It describeed South Africa as  a generous host country with progressive asylum policies and laws, and is currently hosting 268,000 refugees and asylum-seekers according to government statistics.

UNHCR  affirmed that with its partners, they will continue to support the Government in providing assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

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