South Africa: SA Commits to Protecting Immigrants

Government has emphasised its commitment to protecting the rights of foreign nationals residing in South Africa.

This comes amid media reports of foreign nationals allegedly staging a sit-in at the offices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Cape Town. The Western Cape Refugee and Migrant Forum has distanced itself from this action.

Acting GCIS Director General Phumla Williams said: "Government remains committed to building a society based on democratic values of social justice, human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism and the advancement of human rights.

"South Africa has a high number of foreign nationals who are integrated into communities across the country and government calls on all South Africans and foreign nationals to live in harmony as we work together to create a better South Africa and contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world".

The South African government reiterates that the country welcomes all people who are legally in the country and are contributing to its economic development. South Africa, the statement adds, is internationally renowned for using dialogue to solve differences and problems.

"As a peace-loving and law-abiding nation, we must use this noble approach to deal with our problems," said Williams.

South Africa is a signatory to international instruments which form part of Public International Law, and these international instruments have also been incorporated into our domestic law by the Refugees Act.

These conventions, provide the fundamental concepts for refugee protection, and are primarily given effect through the Refugees Act. South Africa has the legal instruments for refugees to exercise their rights, secure protection, and successfully integrate into South African communities.

"South Africa is a constitutional democracy governed by laws and as such we expect everyone working and living in the country to be doing so legally and obey South Africa's laws in their totality," said Williams.

South Africans and those within SA's border are expected to adhere to the law and rules of the country.

"As a country we also remain resolute to peaceful dialogue as the first option of resolving any form of dispute," she said.

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