The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) told foreign nationals who have sought shelter at a church In Cape Town’s city centre that they can’t be repatriated as a group.
They group has been living at the Methodist chapel for two weeks after being removed from outside United Nations (UN) offices.
The foreign nationals, among them refugees, had been staging a sit-in and demanding they be helped to leave South Africa as they fear xenophobic tensions.
Chaos erupted after foreign nationals turned on members of the Western Cape Refugees and Migrants Forum.
The forum said three of its members, including two pastors – the commission’s Chris Nissen and Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba – were attacked.
The organisation’s Patrick Matenga said: “Our members were very very attacked and they were in critical condition.”
Nissen said they went to report back to refugees that they couldn’t be sent back to their home countries as a group.
“The pastor came up, and they started hitting the pastor and they were attacking us. They hit Reverend Makgoba against the forehead, they hit me against the head and my knees were literally on the ground and they were beating us.”
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