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refugees demonstrate in Jo'burg
– More than 100 Zimbabwean, Nigerian and Rwandese refugees demonstrated
in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning against alleged ill-treatment
by South African authorities of foreigners seeking asylum in the
Brandishing placards denouncing xenophobia by government officials
and calling for South Africa to shut down its notorious Lindela
holding camp for illegal immigrants, the demonstrators marched from
Berea Park in the city to the Department of Home Affairs offices,
also in the city.
The Zimbabwe Action Support Group (ZASG) that helped organise the
march said it was meant to draw attention to the inhuman treatment
of asylum seekers by South African government officials as well
as to urge the authorities to act to improve conditions at Lindela.
Describing conditions at Lindela ZASGB chairman Remember Moyo, said:
"The place is always seriously over-crowded, pregnant women
and small children are at the mercy of brutal and corrupt officials
and guards, living conditions are unhygienic with high rates of
illness amongst the detainees, food is regularly rotten and there
are no decent medical facilities."
The protestors also wanted Home Affairs authorities to act to end
rampant corruption by immigration officials who they said routinely
demand cash bribes or sexual favours from foreign immigrants wishing
to avoid arrest.
South African immigration officials have been accused of committing
human rights violations against foreign immigrants, particularly
those who enter the country illegally, while some human rights groups
have condemned living conditions at Lindela where several Zimbabweans
immigrants have died while detained there.
says it does not condone ill-treatment of refugees by its officers
and says conditions at Lindela are in keeping with world standards
for such facilities. - ZimOnline
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