HUMAN RIGHTS DAY GATHERING HIGHLIGHTS XENOPHOBIA

SABC News, 21 March 2007

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Members of the Fish Hoek community, including Somali refugees and several dignitaries from the Western Cape government, gathered at the Masiphumelele Secondary School to focus on xenophobia as a human rights issue. Last year, xenophobic fears led to several clashes between residents and Somali refugees. In an effort to restore harmony between the two groups, a mediation process was established by the office of the premier and the department of community safety. The process included an awareness campaign to raise tolerance levels between the locals and the refugees. Jody Kollapen, the National Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission, says xenophobia is a wide spread problem in this country that requires urgent attention. Kollapen says refugees also need to play a pivotal role in educating South Africans about problems in their home countries which led to them fleeing a safe place. Khaya Cwayi, the chairperson of Siyakha Business Trust, says they organised today's Human Rights Day celebrations to show the world that they are now all living in harmony. “The situation now is normal. We do not have a problem anymore,” says Cwayi.