SAHRC: Xenophobia should be changed to afrophobia

Tens of thousands of migrants were displaced in SA in 2008 and a number of them killed.

FILE: A Congolese foreign national reads a book as he walks through a damaged camp site on 18 June, 2008 at a temporary refugees camp in Soetwater on the outskirt of Cape Town. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says violence against foreigners in the country should now be referred to as "afrophobia" and not xenophobia with the latest research showing Africans are attacked and not Europeans.

The commission is hosting a business and human rights dialogue in Sandton on issues affecting non-citizens including refugees and asylum seekers.

SAHRC chair, advocate Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana says there is a difference between xenophobia and acts of violence committed against African foreigners living in South Africa.

He says the sad fact is that only those who come from African countries are being targeted.

"Only those from within Africa suffer the most."

In 2008, the world watched with dismay as South African citizens violently attacked foreigners in communities across the country.

Tens of thousands of migrants were displaced and a number of them killed amid mass looting and destruction of foreign-owned homes, property and businesses.

The SAHRC says the shocking events of 2008 can never be allowed to happen again.