African Unions Decry Anti-Immigrant Attacks

The Organization of Africa Trade Unions(OATUU) expressed its outrage at the failure of the South African government to protect the rights of immigrants during the recent riots which have torn apart that nation as anti-immigrant mobs roam the streets of Johannesburg. “It is unacceptable and against African tradition for poor African migrants to be made the victims of rage and frustration of the poor and unemployed black South Africans. It is aso against the spirit of Pan-Africanism and African unity, and a disservice to Africa’s economic intergration.” Hassan Sunmonu, secretary-general of OATUU, was particularly upset at the manner in which South African police and military forces failed to afford effective protection to immigrants.

African trade union leaders are furious at President Mbeki whose failure to act more decisively undoubtedly played a role in spread of violence. “We are particularly outraged by the massaive scale of the attacks and the apparent leisurely response of the law enformcement agencies who seemed unable to muster the will to apprehend the savage attacks. Judging from television footages, some of the wounded and dying victims were just left to their own fate, without any intervention by relevant municipal authorities to aid them or ward off further attacks.”

The Nigerian government believes most of the attacks were directed toward Zimbabweans and Somalis more than to people from Nigeria. Zimbabwean refugees have no government which will defend their rights and to return home is to return to the horror of starvation and life in a totalitarian state.