LHR Submissions to the SAHRC on the National Dialogue on Social Cohesion, Xenophobia and Migration

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) made a submission to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the occasion of its national hearing on social cohesion and xenophobia in South Africa.

The following recommendations were made:

Recommendation 1:

  • Accountability and ethical leadership at all levels.
  • Leadership at all levels when making public statements must do so in a manner which does not incite violence or cause division. Transgressions must be dealt with swiftly through mechanisms to ensure public accountability and prevent impunity.

Recommendation 2:

  • Thoroughly developed plan to implement recommendations of SAHRC’s report.
  • Recommendations made previously by the SAHRC in their 2010 report must incorporated and then implemented into a well developed Standard Operating Procedures which will engage all stakeholders at all levels.

Recommendation 3: 

  • Legislation and policies must be formulated in the very least not to impinge on the rights entrenched in the Constitution.
  • The Constitution of South Africa is the yardstick by which all laws should be judged. Similarly, all laws, procedures and policies should be consistent with the ethos, objectives and principles of the Constitution and should give effect to the rights entrenched therein.
  • Examples which perpetuate the impression of “state-sponsored xenophobia’ include:
  1. The Refugees Amendment Act contains a number of provisions which undermine the constitutional rights and legal protection of those fleeing persecution and insecurity.

  2. Government must respect the rule of law when conducting policies and operations such as Operation Fiela, and to adhere to its constitutional duties and obligations. Originally branded as an effort to combat xenophobic violence, the Fiela One soon began targeting foreign nationals, with the most common arrests made against undocumented immigrants.


Recommendation 4:

  • Institutional Xenophobia - Address endemic corruption and fix the collapsed asylum system.
  • Hurdles in accessing services for migrants such as lack of access to documentation due to corruption, the collapsed asylum system and access to basic services must be resolved. Such behavior of public servants cannot be tolerated.


Download the full submission here: