Press Statement on the riots in Lusaka, Zambia

LUSAKA, 20 April, 2016 – The United Nations is concerned over the recent riots and attacks on foreign nationals in Lusaka.

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

Xenophobia is nothing more than discrimination and violation of rights on the basis of nationality. Zambia has a strong reputation as a safe haven for those in need of international protection and has provided shelter to refugees for many years.

The attacks on the premises and persons of foreign nationals, especially Rwandese, Congolese and Burundians on suspicion of connection with several recent murders is a violation of their rights and a rejection of the rule of law. The individuals who committed these murders, whatever their nationalities are the only ones responsible for the crimes.  Mob attacks on individuals because of their nationality is wrong and can only further undermine peace and safety in our communities.

More than a hundred refugees of other nationalities have also been affected by the attacks and lawless behaviour, and been forced to seek refuge with the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This does not represent the hospitality and welcome extended by Zambian communities to refugees over the years.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms Janet Rogan, said “We commend the police for reestablishing peace in the compounds affected and urge all individuals to remain calm, respecting the rights of others, while the police continue their urgent investigations into the murders.”