27 July 2010
A number of South African civil society groups are tackling xenophobia in an innovative way – one signature at a time – with a campaign to collect one million signed pledges against xenophobia, intolerance, intimidation and violence in the country.
The Scalabrini Centre and People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty – organisations that assist refugees and asylum seekers – together with Black Sash, an organisation that assists the public on the legal front, and gender and human rights group Sonke Gender Justice Network, are the driving forces behind the Unite as One Campaign.
The nationwide campaign kicked off in Cape Town on Mandela Day, 18 July, and runs until African Human Rights Day on 17 October.
Black Sash advocacy programme manager Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said the campaign hoped to build on the incredible sense of African unity experienced in South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“We have proved we are a winning nation who can achieve anything if we work together,” Nyembezi said. “Now we must work to win human dignity and protection for all those who seek shelter in our land.”
The public can sign the pledge online or download copies and circulate among them their friends and colleagues.
It is hoped that once people sign the pledge they will feel compelled to report acts of violence or intimidation against foreign nationals.