South Africa: Migrants Occupy UNHCR Premises for Pretoria Sit-in

A sign put up by the refugees.
analysis

On the morning of Thursday 14 November 2019, a number of migrants entered the premises of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Tshwane, moving a sit-in protest from outside its walls to within it.

"We said let us leave this community place because the community says we disturb them," said spokesman for protesting migrants Alex Mongo Nkoy to Daily Maverick on Thursday from inside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in the upscale residential Waterkloof Road in Pretoria.

"So we left that community place to be safe inside here. Inside here is not [a] community place, inside here its UNHCR."

The migrants moved their protest on to UNHCR property in the early hours of Thursday morning. This comes after the Pretoria High Court handed down an order the previous day, which gave more than 500 migrants three days to vacate and disperse from the area in front of the UNHCR office.

The order came after protesters had conducted a sit-in in front of the UNHCR building from 7 October 2019 as a plea to have the refugee agency relocate them outside South Africa.

"Their [UNHCR] mandate is to protect refugees," Mongo Nkoy said. "We know...

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