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South Africa

    May 29, 2013

    The South African authorities must stop trying to ‘squeeze out’ asylum-seekers Amnesty International said today, after police used pepper spray and stun grenades to repel desperate crowds outside a Cape Town refugee office.

    Crowds of around a thousand asylum-seekers and refugees trying to legally renew their permits at the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office have been refused entry since Monday 27 May, and over three days have been on the receiving end of stun grenades, pepper spray, warning shots and a fire-hose.

    The tensions outside the Cape Town office come amid a recent national spike in attacks on small businesses owned by asylum-seekers and refugees.

    A witness to the first incident on 27 May told Amnesty International:

    “Suddenly the crowd started moving backwards. I asked someone what was happening and they told me the police were [pepper] spraying people. Then I heard a loud boom which sounded like a gunshot and the crowd started running. I ran with them. I saw a man with blood running down his head and two men with red eyes who had been sprayed.”

    March 01, 2013

    Footage of South African police tying a Mozambican man to the back of a police vehicle and dragging him down the road has been making headlines across the world.

    The man is reported to have died later in a police cell from head injuries.

    “This footage is shocking,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

    “This appalling incident involving excessive force is the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal police conduct in South Africa.”

    Amnesty international has been documenting an increasing trend by police to resort to excessive force in response to social protests and ordinary crime for nearly ten years. Torture and other ill-treatment, primarily in context of criminal investigations, have become habitual practices. 

    The killing by heavily armed police of 34 striking mine workers at Marikana last August, and the alleged ill-treatment of some injured and arrested miners in the aftermath, is one extremely concerning example of this trend.

    February 28, 2013

     

    Media reports and cell phone footage apparently showing South African police tying a Mozambican man to the back of a police vehicle and dragging him down the road are “shocking”, Amnesty International said today.

    The man is reported to have died later in a police cell from head injuries.

    “This appalling incident involving excessive force is the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal police conduct in South Africa,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

    “The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) must be fully supported in conducting its investigation to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”

    “Amnesty International urges the South African government to make a public commitment to ensure that the police stop the use of excessive force and deliberate targeted killings.”

    The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) received 720 new cases for investigation of suspicious deaths in custody or in other policing contexts from April 2011 to March 2012.
     

    November 08, 2012

    In the early hours of 24 April 2011, Easter Sunday, a 24 year old lesbian woman, Noxolo Nogwaza, was murdered on her way home from a night out with friends. Her attacker(s) raped, repeatedly beat and stabbed her before dumping her body in a drainage ditch. According to organisations spoken to by Amnesty International, Noxolo was targeted because of her sexual orientation. A year after her death, no progress has been made in the investigation into her murder and her killer(s) remain at large.

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