SOUTH AFRICA: Police Target and Shuts Down Refugees Shops

By Jama Judah.

“About 10 of us were supported by that shop,” he said. “We’re being fed by the community, through the mosque, but we need help.”

JOHANNESBURG, Police in South Africa’s northern Limpopo Province have shut down hundreds of shops run by refugees and asylum seekers during an operation to enforce trading laws that observers say were “selectively enforced” to target foreign nationals.

A directive issued by Limpopo’s police commissioner on 26 July instructed police to crack down on informal, or ‘spaza’, stores and liquor shops.

Unable to apply for a trading license using his asylum-seeker permit, Shueyb and his two partners rented their shop from a local who gave them a copy of his license. “We showed it to the police but they said, ‘We want a license from you’,” he recalled. “They said, ‘You Somalis have no rights here, you must go back to your country’ and when we tried to talk back, they threatened us with jail.”

25 October, 2013

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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