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Repatriating foreign nationals not best option, says SAHRC

Refugees living at the Methodist church in Cape Town have been given a reprieve by the Cape Town Magistrates Court from a removal threat this week.

FILE: Foreign nationals at the UN Refugee Agency in Cape Town on 14 October 2019. The foreign nationals say they fear being victims of xenophobic attacks and are sitting-in at the agency, hoping that they will be assisted to leave SA. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said repatriating foreign nationals was not the best option.

Refugees living at the Methodist church in Cape Town have been given a reprieve by the Cape Town Magistrates Court from a removal threat this week.

The commission's Chris Nissen said after meeting with the United Nations, it was decided that there should be resettlement, repatriation or reintegration.

However, Nissen said refugees cannot be taken back to their countries of origin.

“The second option is repatriation and that’s going back to their homes. But you can’t take them back to a place where their lives were at threat.”

Hundreds of foreign nationals have been camping at the UN Refugee Agency offices, asking to be moved to other countries to escape xenophobic attacks in South Africa.