Philippines slams violence vs immigrants in South Africa
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday, April 22, denounced the wave of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa as the Southeast Asian country advised its estimated 3,000 nationals there to keep themselves safe.
"The Philippines condemns the wave of violence aimed at foreign workers, and joins the South African government and the international community in denouncing the aggression directed against foreigners during these 3 weeks of unrest," the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.
The violence "has resulted in loss of lives and has divided communities." (READ: Foreigners tell of being 'hunted like dogs' in South Africa)
CNN reports that the anti-immigrant violence in South Africa has killed at least 6 people.
"The South African government and the international community must rise to the challenge and work harder to eliminate such senseless and brutal violence in multicultural and multi-ethnic communities," the DFA added.
3,000 Filipinos in South Africa
Responding to these threats, the DFA also raised crisis alert level 1 in South Africa.
Under alert level 1, the agency advises overseas Filipino workers to take the needed precautions to keep themselves safe in areas of conflict.
This alert level "is raised when there are valid signs of internal disturbance, instability, or external threat to the host country."
Latest government data show around 3,000 Filipinos live in South Africa.
The violence there has prompted the South African government to deploy soldiers to tackle gangs hunting down and killing foreigners.
The spate of attacks has revived memories of xenophobic bloodshed in 2008, when 62 people were killed in Johannesburg's townships, rattling South Africa's post-apartheid image as a "rainbow nation" of different ethnic and cultural groups living in harmony.
The South African army was deployed to restore order in the 2008 unrest, and has also been used against violent strikers in 2012 and 2014. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com