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Xenophobia: SERAP asks African Commission to sue South Africa

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on Mrs Soyata Maiga, the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the commission’s members to sue South Africa, over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in recent times.

In a statement signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP’s Deputy Director, the advocacy group said that the African Commission should submit a case on the xenophobic attacks to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

SERAP said, “These attacks constitute serious violations of the human rights of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.”

The organization also urged the commission to “seek in the case to the African Court, punitive damages and adequate compensation of $10 billion (USD) on behalf of hundreds of Nigerian victims and their families. This amount will sufficiently take into account individual harm suffered by victims.

“This is a key moment for the commission to push to protect the human rights of the victims. The commission ought to make it clear to the South African authorities that the victims of the heinous crimes have a right to an effective remedy and reparation, which includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

““For the sake of the victims, the commission should move swiftly on the matter to prevent further harm to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country. Unlike for individuals and NGOs, the African Court Protocol does not require Nigeria to have made the declaration under Article 34(6) for the commission to submit a case on behalf of the Nigerian victims before the Court.”

The statement added, “If the victims see that a process for ensuring adequate compensation for the crimes committed against them in South Africa is underway, it will also discourage revenge violence and killings and help break the cycle of violence that is now spiralling beyond control in the country.

“If the commission does not pursue a case for compensation for victims, the Nigerian government may compel it to do so before the court. The call for an effective remedy and reparation for the victims of xenophobic attacks and violence is overwhelming, and comes from direct victims and their families, from the Nigerian government and the leadership of Nigeria’s National Assembly.

“Pursuing the case before the African Court and seeking adequate compensation in the sum of $10 billion would help to ensure justice for the victims and deter South African authorities and high-ranking public officials who incite hatred, violence and discrimination.

“Pushing for payment of $10 billion compensation for Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks and violence can demonstrate that the days of impunity for these crimes are gone.”


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