The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has revealed that it would take “appropriate action” to address the human rights violations of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.
This was in response to the request by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that the commission “submit a case on the escalating xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other African citizens in the country to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to seek an effective remedy and reparation for Nigerian victims.”
SERAP had last Friday in its letter to Ms Soyata Maiga, chairperson of the commission, stated that the xenophobic attacks constituted serious violations of the human rights of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.
Also, SERAP urged the commission to seek in African Court, punitive damages and adequate compensation of $10 billion (USD) on behalf of hundreds of Nigerian victims and their families.
Ms Maiga, in an email response to SERAP on Monday, said: “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.”
SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, thanked the commission for responding to its request.
Oluwadare said that this was an indication and assurance that the commission would take action on the issue.
“The fact that a preeminent African human rights body has decided to take action on the matter shows the commission’s willingness 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,” he said.