Human rights group to try & halt deportation of 200 foreigners

Lawyers for Human Rights want the courts to stop the deportation of foreigners arrested in raids last week.

FILE. SA army and police raided on a buildings around Johannesburg CBD on 8 May 2015 as part of their operation to search for illegal goods, weapons and drugs. Picture: Nyasha Mharakurwa /@sirnyasha via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Johannesburg will this morning hear an urgent application by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), to halt the deportation of more than 200 foreign nationals this week.

The illegal immigrants were arrested during raids by the South African Police Service, South African National Defence Force and officials from the Department Home Affairs in the Johannesburg CBD on Friday.

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The raids also included the Central Methodist Church and have come under sharp criticism from non-government organisation Right2Know, which has described the raids as state co-ordinated xenophobia.

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LHR member David Cote explains this morning's court application.

"The deportation is meant to take place on Wednesday this week of all those who were arrested during the operation last Friday in the Johannesburg CBD. The majority of those people are foreign nationals and we're concerned that asylum seekers an refugees have been swept up in the raids."

Operation Fiela was launched during xenophobic attacks in different parts of the country several weeks ago.

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So far, more than 700 people have been arrested during various raids, and this has drawn criticism from a number of NGOs.