ICJ and partners call on South Africa to address ongoing xenophobia and discrimination against non-citizens

Oral statement of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and partners at the adoption of South Africa’s Universal Periodic Review outcomes under agenda item 6 of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 52nd Regular Session. The statement was delivered by ICJ Legal and Policy Office intern Collin Christner.

The statement reads as follows:


“Mr President,

ICJ and its partners call on South Africa to respect and openly promote the human rights of non-citizens and to address the ongoing xenophobia and discrimination directed at non-citizens.

We are particularly alarmed that labour legislation — on both provincial and national levels — is overly restrictive of the right of non-citizens to work, and that some public hospitals and clinics are refusing medical care and treatment to non-citizens, including pregnant and lactating women. With respect to this, we call on the South African government to take a firm position and issue clear notices regarding the right of non-citizens to access health care; we further call for an investigation into the denial of access to health care for non-citizens and related discrimination.

We welcome the adoption of the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (NAP), and the recent adoption of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill by the National Assembly. We call on Government to speedily pass and implement the Bill and to mainstream an implementation framework to ensure accountability for hate crimes, including xenophobic crimes.

We are disappointed that South Africa has noted but not accepted the recommendation to become a party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.”


Endorsing organizations: 

Amnesty International

Equal Education Law Centre

Health Justice Initiative

Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia (KAAX)

Lawyers for Human Rights


Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)

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