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‘Long term solution required for displaced refugees’

There have been continued calls for the government and the UNHCR to resolve and assist the hundreds of displaced refugees in Cape Town.

There have been demands for the government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resolve and assist the hundreds of displaced refugees in Cape Town.

More than 600 men, women and children have taken shelter at the Central Methodist Mission on Green Market Square after they were forcefully removed by the police from outside the offices of the UNHCR in Waldorf Arcade, St Georges Mall on Wednesday.

Many mothers said their children were traumatised.

Kabunga Nadine was pictured crying on the ground while the police attempted to remove her 20-month-old daughter Gracious. She described the treatment as inhumane.

The panicked and pregnant mother of two said she could not trace her 12-year-old daughter whom she hadn’t seen since the clash with police.

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The distressed mother said she had nowhere to report to as the police are the ones who had done this to them. She said she had been having bad experiences ever since she came to South Africa and had been raped after sleeping outside Home Affairs for two weeks.

Spokesperson for the MEC for Social Development, Joshua Chigome said their role was to provide support to the children after the evictions but attempts by their social workers to do assessments and provide social services were rejected by the displaced refugees.

Executive director for the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Neeshan Balton called for talks to find an urgent solution while also criticising police action during the evictions.

Reverend Alan Storey of the Methodist Mission criticised what he called excessive force to remove the protesters saying more needed to be done to address challenges facing this group.

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Storey called for long term solutions as the church could only provide temporary relief.

The UNHCR’s Joan Allison said they had meetings with affected parties on Friday to try to find a solution but they did not include group resettlements as demanded by the protesters.

More: Cape Argus

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