Monday, March 6, 2017
In response to recent xenophobic attacks against Africans in South Africa, ActionAid released the statement below announcing that we will no longer hold regional and international meetings in South Africa.
As we denounce these hateful acts, we also oppose the xenophobic agenda of the Trump administration, which is excluding immigrants and refugees and dismantling their lives and livelihoods. Today Trump announced his reworked Muslim ban. Regardless of the changes made to the language or implementation of the ban, the ActionAid International federation continues to challenge the xenophobic sentiment of Donald Trump and his administration – both in the US and elsewhere.
ActionAid Statement on Xenophobic Attacks in SA
February 28, 2017 – Johannesburg, South Africa (SA)
- In 2003 ActionAid decided to move its international headquarters from London to the South. After extensive internal deliberations we chose Johannesburg as the new location for our headquarters, inspired by the hope that SA embodies for us all based on its victorious struggle against apartheid injustice and its constitutional commitment to the values that we hold dear as a Federation: equality, non-discrimination, justice and solidarity.
- As a Federation, of which out of the 45 countries we have programmes in, 22 countries are in Africa. Therefore we too paid the price of apartheid as we chose to stand in solidary with our South African sisters and brothers in our collective struggle against the unjust apartheid regime.
- In the post-apartheid era we have been witnessing with great sadness at least three waves of xenophobic attacks directed specifically at Africans living in SA.
- In our understanding, xenophobia sadly exists everywhere and is exacerbated by growing economic hardships and deepening inequality. However, the big difference between feelings of xenophobia and its violent expression, as is now once again the case in SA, is the space allowed for its expression, by the political leadership of country.
- In our view, that South African government has dismally failed other Africans in its refusal to a) outright condemn these attacks as xenophobic, b) act decisively against the perpetrators of these attacks, and c) protect targeted and affected communities.
- Because our headquarters is located in Johannesburg, we often hold our regional and international meetings in SA. And while we are in the fortunate position that our organisation is able to safeguard ourselves during our stays here in SA, we do however feel extremely conflicted by the fact that those of us with friends, working mates and relatives who live here know that they do not enjoy the same safety.
- So it is after extensive deliberation and with heavy hearts that we have made a decision to no longer hold our regional and international meetings here in SA, and will be calling on other international organisations to do likewise.
- Our organisation will review these decisions if we see the required shift in leadership with regards the xenophobic actions against immigrants in particular against fellow Africans.
- We call on the South African government and especially its liberation movement leaders, to offer the required leadership in the context of these abhorrent and unacceptable attacks against Africans living in South Africa.