Refugees face imminent eviction as law enforcement officials gather at Pretoria’s UN High Commission
A large contingent of law enforcement officials is preparing to evict a group of refugees camping at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Brooklyn, Pretoria. Fire and rescue teams are also present at the site. The refugees, mostly Congolese, Burundian, and Kenyan nationals, have been living on the pavement of the UNHCR offices since 2019, according to SABC News.
A court order has allowed the removal of over 100 refugees from the area. Tshwane Ward 56 Councillor, Jarad Frimmel, has explained that the city had no other option but to go to court and request assistance in relocating the refugees to Lindela, where they will have access to necessities such as shelter, food, and education.
Also read: Foreigners must carry passports to avoid arrest
Human Rights Lawyer Louise du Plessis, who is present at the scene, urges law enforcement officials to be cautious and to respect the rights of the refugees, particularly the women and children who are among them.
The UN has expressed concern about the over 50 children, some of whom are of school-going age, who are part of the group of refugees camping outside the UNHCR offices. UN spokesperson Laura Padoan has emphasised that it is worrying that the children cannot access education and that living on the street is not a solution for their plight.
Picture: Twitter / KhayaJames