"ONE" Movement Launched to Combat Xenophobia and Racism in South Africa as New Study is Released

Posted: 
03/10/09

A social change campaign that seeks to reverse attitudes that
result in discrimination, xenophobia, racism and tribalism is being
launched today by IOM. The One Movement initiative follows
xenophobic attacks on thousands of foreigners in South African
cities in May 2008.

The campaign, under the patronage of Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
will use media campaigns, community conversations, youth
mobilization, curriculum interventions and human rights training
with a wide range of civil society partners to promote a culture of
tolerance, human dignity and unity in diversity across southern
Africa.

Supported by radio station METRO FM as a media partner, the One
Movement campaign will also have a number of celebrities and media
personalities from several parts of the African continent as
goodwill ambassadors. 

"PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 10px; FLOAT: right; PADDING-BOTTOM: 10px; WIDTH: 50%; PADDING-TOP: 0px">
"BACKGROUND-IMAGE: none; VERTICAL-ALIGN: top; WIDTH: 100%; BORDER-TOP-STYLE: none; BORDER-RIGHT-STYLE: none; BORDER-LEFT-STYLE: none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: rgb(51,102,204); TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-BOTTOM-STYLE: none">Download "BACKGROUND-IMAGE: none; VERTICAL-ALIGN: top; WIDTH: 100%; BORDER-TOP-STYLE: none; BORDER-RIGHT-STYLE: none; BORDER-LEFT-STYLE: none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: rgb(153,204,255); TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-BOTTOM-STYLE: none">

"/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/media/docs/reports/violence_against_foreign_nationals.pdf"
target="_blank" title=""> "BACKGROUND-COLOR: rgb(153,204,255)">Addressing Violence Against
Foreign Nationals in South Africa

The public will be also able to blog, share their experiences, and
download wallpapers, reports and other resources of the ONE
Movement through social networking groups including Facebook and
YouTube, and through a dedicated blog and website: "paragraph-link-no-underline" href="http://www.1movement.co.za"
target="_blank" title="">www.1movement.co.za.


The first phase of the campaign will be funded by the US
Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
(PRM).  IOM is seeking an addition USD 2 million to implement
the campaign through the next two years.

"While our key concern is addressing xenophobia, we have found
that it is only one of the symptoms of a general culture of social
divisions that is on the rise in South Africa," said Hans-Petter
Boe, IOM's Regional Representative for Southern Africa. 

According to a survey conducted in 2008 by FutureFact Mindset,
South Africa has witnessed a significant increase in social
divisions in recent years. The 2008 South African Development
Indicators Report reported that positive sentiments about race
relations in the country fell from 60 per cent in May 2004 to 49
per cent in May 2008.

The report also revealed that South Africans are increasingly
identifying themselves in terms of ethnicity and language.

The One Movement launch is accompanied by the release of a new
IOM report on xenophobia in South Africa which suggests that the
xenophobia-related violence of May 2008 did not exclusively target
foreign nationals – it also affected people seen as
"outsiders."

The report, "Towards Tolerance, Law and Dignity: Addressing
Violence against Foreign Nationals in South Africa", partly
attributes the 2008 violence to local groups and individuals who
initiated or supported the attacks in order to foster their
political and economic interests. It found no evidence to support
earlier accounts blaming the eruption of violence on factors such
as poor border controls or rising food and commodity prices.

The aim of the study, conducted on behalf of IOM by the Forced
Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) of the University of the
Witwatersrand, and funded by the UK Department for International
Development (DFID), was to get a better understanding into the
factors that led to the outbreak of the attacks which left 62
people dead and more than 100,000 internally displaced.

The study found that although xenophobia, economic inequality
and a culture of violence are endemic to South Africa, the
micro-politics of the country's townships and informal settlements
largely accounts for the violence against non-nationals and other
'outsiders' which occurred in May 2008.

 

Broad structural and historical factors such as a legacy of
institutional discrimination and mistrust of foreign nationals
could not in isolation explain the timing and location of the
attacks, which occurred in some places but did not in other places
that have similar demographic and socio-economic conditions.

Beyond this broad conclusion, the IOM research identifies a
number of common factors that fostered violence in those places
where it occurred. These include: institutionalized practices that
exclude foreigners from political participation and justice, often
premised on limited knowledge of and respect for law; a lack of
trusted, prompt and effective conflict resolution mechanisms that
leads to vigilantism and mob justice; and the emergence of
illegitimate forms of local leadership, some of which seek to
enhance its authority by reinforcing the resentment of communities
towards 'outsiders'.

The study also suggests that systematic efforts are needed to
hold individuals responsible for the violence, together with more
concentrated and coordinated reintegration efforts, if community
cohesion is to be restored, conflicts resolved and future similar
attacks prevented.

The study includes recommendations to help reduce xenophobic
tendencies and the risk of future violence including developing
interventions to promote accountability and counter a culture of
impunity; reforms to build inclusive local governance structures;
opening up more channels for legal migration; supporting the
government in addressing xenophobic and discriminatory practices in
public institutions; and promoting a human rights culture in South
Africa.

"By promoting unity and a human rights culture that puts law and
human dignity first, and by challenging perceptions, attitudes and
behaviours around prejudice and discrimination, we can contribute
to ridding the country of both xenophobia and  exclusion to
stop anything like the May 2008 attacks ever happening again," says
Boe.

To access the full report, please go to this link:

"/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/media/docs/reports/violence_against_foreign_nationals.pdf"
target="_blank" title="">Addressing Violence Against Foreign
Nationals in South Africa

For more information, please contact:

Nde Ndifonka

IOM Pretoria

Tel. +27.12 342 2789

E-mail:  "mailto:nndifonka@iom.int">nndifonka@iom.int

© IOM 2008 - MZA0032 (Photo: Nde Ndifonka)