UNHCR concerned over recent looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissione

PRETORIA, South-Africa, January 23, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- UNHCR is concerned over the recent spate of violence and looting in Soweto that mainly affected foreigners, including refugees and asylum seekers.

According to information provided by the South African Police Services, two people have lost their lives in the violence including a 14 year old South African boy who was allegedly shot by a shop owner and a 19 year old youth who was allegedly shot by police. Over 120 people have been arrested on various charges and over 80 shops have been looted.

UNHCR commends the response made by the South African authorities and the South African Police Services to try to contain the violence and looting and encourages them to continue with their efforts to restore peace in the affected areas.

“It is very concerning that people have lost their lives in the violence and many refugees and asylum-seekers have lost their livelihoods. While we appreciate the efforts made so far, UNHCR is calling on the government to continue to do all it can to prevent any future incidents,” said UNHCR's Officer-in-Charge for Southern Africa, Veronica Modey-Ebi.