SA deeply concerned about 23 migrant deaths

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) expressed deep regret and concern at the deaths and the injury of several migrants.
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Representative Image Reuters

South Africa has joined the African Union and the United Nations in calling for an immediate independent investigation into the deaths of at least 23 migrants who attempted to cross the border from Morocco into the Spanish city of Melilla.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) expressed deep regret and concern at the deaths and the injury of several migrants.

"South Africa aligns with the statements of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) that calls for an immediate independent, effective and transparent investigation into the matter.

"It is imperative that UN member states abide by internationally agreed norms and standards to protect human rights, human dignity and the protection of those fleeing war, persecution and discrimination," DIRCO said.

The department added that such violent incidents meted out to migrants are increasing globally.

"We see similar anti-migrant sentiment in South Africa, which at times, aside from challenging the very foundations of our constitutional democracy, could lead to mass violence against migrants irrespective of their status," the department said.

Cognisant of these national, regional and global trends, DIRCO has further called for commitments by all states, to treat migrants and their families with the human rights accorded to them under international law.

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