Over one thousand Malawians today held a peaceful #march against #xenophobic attacks taking place in South Africa in the capital Lilongwe. The protestors delivered a petition to the South African Ambassador to Malawi in Lilongwe.
In the petition jointly signed by Centre for Human and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Executive Director Timonthy Mtambo, Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (YECE)Lucky Mbewe, Human Rights Consultative Committee(HRCC), Robert Mkwezalamba, Centre for Development of People (Cedep), Gift Trapence and Human Rights Defender Billy Mayaya said they strongly condemn the barbaric attack on foreign nationals.
“We, the people of Malawi, stand in solidarity with all Africans to condemn in the strongest terms the current resurgence of xenophobia in the Republic of South Africa. In 2008, we came to this embassy to demand a stop to acts of wanton violence on migrant workers from the SADC region including Malawi.
“Your predecessor promised us that “never again!”would fellow Africans be subjected to such cruel and degrading acts of violence,” reads in part the petition.
Adds the petition: “Sadly, today we stand here to see history repeating itself. Xenophobia is the new apartheid, and it threatens to undo the gains that South Africa has made after the end of apartheid. It threatens the human rights of all (especially migrants) and the flourishing of true free and tolerant New South Africa.”
CSOs then called upon the Government of South Africa to urgently remove the structural inequalities that are rooted in apartheid and white privilege.
“We believe these are the main causes of worsening economic inequality and marginalisation.
“These inequities were not instituted by migrants, and will not automatically disappear if the migrant population decreases. The most sustainable way to address the economic frustrations felt by many South Africans is to adopt policies that reduce the inequalities, and create programs that empower ordinary South Africans,” reads the statement.
The statement continues: “We urge the Government of South Africa to categorically condemn any individual or institution that encourages the widespread use of xenophobic, aggressive and militarised rhetoric as a trend of blaming foreigners for social ills.
“We appeal to civil society organizations in South Africa to promote the rights of migrants, by contributing to civic and human rights education in order to enhance values of equality.
“We call upon the Government of South Africa, in line with provisions in their Constitution and International legal obligations, to protect the rights of all people living in South Africa and to address the root causes of xenophobia.”
Apart from that, CSOs have asked President Jacob Zuma and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, Edward Zuma and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to apologize to the whole Africa over the attack.
The CSOs have asked the government of South Africa to compensate all people who have been victimized by the ongoing xenophobic violence among others.
Meanwhile, CSOs in the country have given the South African Embassy 48 hours to respond to the petition.
“If these appeals and demands are not met within 48 hours, we shall have no choice but to call for a boycott of South African products and businesses in Malawi,” reads the statement.