Police remove refugees outside UNHCR offices in Pretoria

Police have moved a group of refugees off the premises of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pretoria after they gained illegal access to the vicinity.

They had camped outside the offices for over a month demanding that the UNHCR assist them because of fears of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Pretoria ordered that they leave the offices within three days and the police moved in on Friday morning.

Eyewitness News reporter Kgomotso Modise says some men have been arrested while shelter is being sought for the women and children.

We still don't know whether the men have been officially arrested and charged but we do understand that they were taken to various police stations around Pretoria.

Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN

As the women and children were getting onto the different police trucks and vans, they had to produce documentation of their names in a bid to verify who they are before they were taken by social development officials.

Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN

Modise says there appears to be no clear plan.

Currently, the people that have been moved were promised to be taken to an area in the west of Pretoria, right now they have really just been moved from one pavement to the other.

Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN

There isn't a clear plan that has been communicated. Officials have said that they are waiting for a directive and they will wait until a call comes in for them to take these refugees somewhere.

Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN

It is kind of unclear where these refugees are going to be living, where government or social development plans on taking them and how they are going to be housed.

Kgomotso Modise, Reporter - EWN

Click on the link below to hear the full report...


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