ZAMBIA: Curb Xenophobia or Risk Alienation, Bishops Warn South Africa

LUSAKA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 (CISA)-The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has called on the government of South Africa to act against xenophobic attacks as it might cause alienation from other nations.

“We are indeed deeply saddened by the occurrence of the xenophobic attacks that have been taking center stage in South Africa in recent years. We fear that if this trend is not curtailed, it may cause displeasure and alienation of the citizens of South Africa from other nations, …we therefore call on the South African government and local government to do more in managing the situation whilst maintaining the values of Ubuntu, civility, tolerance  and peaceful coexistence in that rainbow nation,” read a September 6 statement signed by Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu, president of ZCCB.

The bishops condemned the violence, and noted that it was unlawful and a violation of human rights.

“What we are witnessing is a violation of fundamental human rights that every person is entitled to despite his or her religion, race colour, ethnicity and nationality. The word of God teaches us to treat foreigners with the same dignity they deserve saying, you must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way, remember you were once foreigners (Exodus 22:21).”

The bishops also warned leaders against remarks that could incite violence.

“Leaders should not be seen to exacerbate the situation by paying a blind eye of what is happening or issuing inflammatory statements against African Immigrants,” they said.

They prelates also urged Zambians to refrain from taking revenge on any South Africans living in Zambia, noting that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will not help the situation.

“We further urge all Zambians to restrain themselves from any acts of violence or vengeance against South African nationals and their property or businesses. We hereby call for calm and diplomatic advocacy, whilst respecting people’s right to hold peaceful matches within the confines of the law and order,” they said.