Press release

Christian Aid affirms churches’ call for action on xenophobic violence in South Africa

Christian Aid has expressed concern and solidarity for those caught up in the recent wave of xenophobic violence against migrants and refugees in South Africa.

Responding to the attacks, Christian Aid’s South Africa Programme Manager, Gerhard Buttner, echoed calls for a lasting, peaceful solution and for decisive action against those responsible.

Mr Buttner said: “Christian Aid stands in solidarity with those affected by a recent, renewed wave of violence in South Africa.

“The last few days has seen escalating attacks against migrants and refugees from other countries in Africa, with looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa. This violence has led to several deaths, and has also now circled out to so-called ‘reprisal’ actions – notably in Nigeria and Zambia.

“Yesterday, the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), issued a statement calling for an inquiry by the Southern African Development Community and the African Union into xenophobia, and calling for a lasting and mutual solution. FOCCISA has also called upon the government of South Africa to act decisively with irresponsible authorities.

“This follows another statement, earlier this week, by the South African Council of Churches, strongly condemning the acts of violence against people and property, and appealing for swift action.”

“Christian Aid echoes these calls from our friends in the region, whose prophetic voice must be heard. We will continue engaging with our partners in South Africa, to discern other ways we can amplify their calls and stand in solidarity with them. We also recognise that legitimate local and regional voices must be at the forefront of any action.”

FOCCISA is a multi-country ecumenical faith network: several of its Christian councils in a number of countries are partners of Christian Aid, as is FOCCISA’s regional Economic Justice Network, which is based in South Africa.