SOUTH AFRICA: Jesuit Institute Calls on State to Curb Xenophobia

SOWETO JANUARY 30, 2015(CISA) – The Jesuit Institute South Africa has strongly condemned the ongoing violence against foreign persons and their businesses.

The violence which started in Soweto, “constitutes another episode in South Africa’s shameful history of xenophobia,” the institute said in a statement, reported Vatican Radio.

“The savagery demonstrated and the failure to put a stop to the current (and earlier) incidents of xenophobic violence is deeply disturbing and displays a failure of the State to put an end to such behaviour both by the enforcement of the law and the education of citizens in respect of the rights of foreign nationals. This is a national disgrace,” read the statement in part.

The Jesuits in South Africa said they were disturbed by the debate of whether or not the attacks constitute xenophobia, saying a systematic series of attacks on over eighty foreign-owned shops and foreign-born persons cannot simply be explained away as criminal or political acts of violence.

The institute added that Xenophobia in South Africa is in direct contradiction of the nation’s “professed belief in humanity or Ubuntu” and is an open act of contempt for the culture of human rights central to South African Constitution.

“The shelter of protection given by our Constitution extends to all of us because we are human beings, giving recognition to our inherent dignity and equality before God. This is in accord with Catholic Social Teaching on the dignity of the human person and with the central tenet of Ubuntu – ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ a person is a person through other people.”

The Jesuit Institute, called on the Government to act swiftly. “State fails when it does not adequately protect all those living within its borders, when it does not enforce the law or educate citizenry in the proper way to deal with non-citizens.”

The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) has called on the “people involved not to allow themselves to be incited to such destruction.”


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