Asylum seekers deserve respect and affection – Motlanthe

2011-07-30 14:32

Foreign asylum seekers in South Africa need to be treated with respect and affection, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said today.

“These people, no matter how different they may be from us, belong to the family of humanity and are deserving of our respect and basic human rights,” he said at the closing ceremony of the Moral Regeneration Movement Month in Port Elizabeth.

“We are all born free, with equal dignity, the right to life, shelter, food and security. These are indivisible rights that are afforded to everyone, including foreign nationals and asylum seekers who, through no fault of their own, have had to flee to South Africa because of conflict, famine and deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in their countries of birth,” he said.

Mothlante condemned recent xenophobic attacks and growing anti-immigrant tensions that began when 62 foreign nationals were killed in 2008.

Motlanthe said that the movement called on people to reflect and evaluate their actions and commitment towards building a just, tolerant and moral society for the common good of all humanity.

The movement dedicated July to the promotion of positive values through forgiveness, solidarity against xenophobia and responsible parenting.

Motlanthe said that people needed to stand together on issues like teenage pregnancy, substance and alcohol abuse, and crime and increased levels of peer pressure among the youth.

“Our children are now prone to learning from the streets, magazines, television, internet and other unsupervised activities. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to return to our old-age custom of collective parenting, encouraged by the universal African adage that it takes a village to raise a child,” he said.

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