The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has said it will take “appropriate action,” in response to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Nigerian advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, had on Sunday called upon the commission to sue South Africa and demand $10bn damages for Nigerian victims of xenophobia.
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said in a statement on Monday that justice might be on the way for xenophobia victims as the African Commission had promised to take up the issue.
Oludare’s statement quoted the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ms Soyata Maiga, as acknowledging SERAP’s letter and promising that necessary action would be taken.
“Thank you for your open letter requesting our commission to take action to the court. I have just shared the letter with Ms Jamesina Essie King, the Chair of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, for follow-up and appropriate action,” Maiga was said to have written in a reply mail to SERAP.
Commending Maiga’s quick response, Oludare said it signified the commitment of the African Commission “to stand up for the human rights of Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa, and to become more responsive to rights holders and victims.”
“This will put massive pressure on the South African authorities and political leaders to uphold the highest standards in the protection of human rights of Nigerians and end their political rhetoric and incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination,” the SERAP Deputy Director said.
SERAP had on Sunday urged Maiga to institute legal action against South Africa at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The group said, “These attacks constitute serious violations of the human rights of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.
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“This is a key moment for the commission to push to protect the human rights of the victims. The commission ought to make it clear to the South African authorities that the victims of the heinous crimes have a right to an effective remedy and reparation, which includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
“For the sake of the victims, the commission should move swiftly on the matter to prevent further harm to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country. Unlike for individuals and NGOs, the African Court Protocol does not require Nigeria to have made the declaration under Article 34(6) for the commission to submit a case on behalf of the Nigerian victims before the Court.”