Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

UN refugee chief, Lesotho leader discuss xenophobic attacks in South Africa

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 11 June 2008
Cite as UN News Service, UN refugee chief, Lesotho leader discuss xenophobic attacks in South Africa, 11 June 2008, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The United Nations refugee chief has held talks with the Prime Minister of Lesotho on the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in neighbouring South Africa that have left some 60 people dead and tens of thousands of foreigners homeless.

António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Pakalitha Mosisili also discussed the agency's operations across Southern Africa and the growing role of regional bodies in dealing with migration issues during their talks, held in Geneva yesterday.

Mr. Guterres said last month's attacks in South Africa, which sparked a chorus of concern from senior UN officials and support from UNHCR for the newly homeless, were the result of extreme poverty.

"In such situations scapegoats are often foreigners, including refugees and asylum-seekers," he said. "But xenophobia is not specific to South Africa – it is a global problem and we see it also in some developed countries."

Mr. Guterres added that his office in the South African city of Pretoria is continuing to work closely with the South African Government to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the victims of the violence.

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