IOM Calls for Action to Combat Violence Against Migrants in South Africa
South Africa - IOM has expressed deep concern over the resurgence of attacks against migrants that are ongoing and continue to spread throughout Durban and other parts of South Africa over the past two weeks.
Strongly condemning the violence which has already seen more than 2,000 migrants flee their homes, IOM called for urgent collective interventions by the government, media and civil society to prevent violence against migrants in the country, and asked civil society organizations to work closely with the law enforcement authorities and report cases of violence and planned attacks.
Although IOM has welcomed the deployment of additional police officers to contain the violence, but it says that structural, long term measures will have to be taken to prevent future flare-ups. Reactive approaches will not stop the violence now and in the future.
“The recent violence is not a problem for the government alone, but for South Africa as a whole. Everyone has a critical role to play to put a stop to this. We welcome the government’s initial interventions in addressing the situation in Durban and we further avail our professional expertise in assisting the government,” said IOM South Africa Chief of Mission Richard Ots.
He added that xenophobia and violence against migrants can only be successfully tackled by involving the host communities as well as the migrants, in order to understand the root causes behind the violence and intolerance.
“Media has an important role to play based on the tremendous amount of influence they have in shaping public perception. By selectively reporting about violence and the negative perceptions of migration, but failing to highlight the many positive contributions that migrants bring, media organizations can unfortunately reinforce popular misconceptions,” he noted.