SOUTH AFRICA – IOM, METRO FM Join Forces to Combat Xenophobic Attacks, Aid Victims

22 May 2008 | Uncategorized

IOM’s Southern Africa Regional Office and METRO FM, South Africa’s largest urban commercial radio station, are joining forces to combat the spate of xenophobic attacks that have swept the country and to help the victims.

The joint initiative comprises an information campaign promoting diversity and tolerance, together with an assistance programme targeting both foreigners and South Africans negatively affected by the violence.

IOM is providing 2,000 assistance packs containing basic sanitary and nutritional items, including mats and blankets, to meet the immediate needs of some of the 13,000 people believed to have been displaced.

METRO FM will launch a national on-air fundraising campaign to buy more of the packs and meet other longer-term needs. It will also run a national poster campaign reminding people that xenophobia is akin to the apartheid of the past.

This campaign will also educate the public about foreigners and locals’ rights and responsibilities, in a bid to forestall more attacks and to pave the way for reconciliation and reintegration.

“This is a cause that we will lead well beyond this current situation. As a public commercial broadcaster, METRO FM is committed to long-term measures  that ensure effectiveness and sustainability, and that we are seen not only to educate and inform the public on issues of diversity and tolerance, but also to physically touch the lives of those affected on the ground, through our collaboration with IOM,” says Matona Sakupwanya, station manager of METRO FM.

IOM, through its regional spokesperson, Nde Ndifonka, has strongly condemned the violence. “These attacks have resulted in loss of life, severe injuries and displacement for thousands of people. There can never be any justification for these kinds of abuses. IOM will work with the government and other partners to meet the needs of both foreigners and South Africans who have been affected by the situation,” he said.

On Tuesday 20 May, IOM convened an emergency response meeting at its regional office in Pretoria – bringing together concerned governments departments, UN agencies and NGO partners to address the issue.

IOM has proposed 2-year programme including a baseline survey, capacity building of law enforcement and service providers in South Africa and an information campaign, as well as facilitating community dialogue around anti-xenophobia. IOM is appealing for USD1.9 million to implement the programme.

For more information please contact Nde Ndifonka at IOM Pretoria – Tel: +27.82.667.27.76 or +27.12.342.27.89, Email: ndifonka@iom.int

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