‘Treatment of foreigners, sex workers by police often unlawful’

The discussions formed part of a two-day meeting held by the SA Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg to try and find ways to address problems in the SAPS.

FILE: Sex workers from across Southern Africa gathered in Hillbrow on 15 June 2011 to share their experiences. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The ill-treatment of migrants, refugees and sex workers has come under the microscope at a dialogue on the state of policing in South Africa, with calls for men and women in blue to treat all people with dignity.

The discussions formed part of a two-day meeting held by the SA Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg, to try and find ways to address problems in the SAPS.

It comes in the wake of recent cases of police brutality and allegations of corruption.

The commission has heard that the treatment of foreign nationals and sex workers by the police is often outside the confines of the law.

The African Centre For Migration and Society's Alexandra Hiropoulos said: “Increasingly, what we see in South Africa is the response to crime from police has been to blame crime on foreign nationals.”

Sonke Gender Justice's Donna Evans says the ill-treatment of sex workers by the SAPS is horrific.

“Things that have come out of here are rape, torture, sexual assault or being threatened with arrest.”

The human rights commission says a culture human rights should be instilled in the SAPS from the top leadership.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)