Conflict & Justice

Refugees in South Africa won't go home

Some Somali women and children huddle together at this refugee camp, but this woman is afraid of the police. She says the police came and tried to get them to leave. In the end the police left with the empty busses. Officials haven't said where they plan to send the refugees, and the refugees say the authorities believe the refugee situation embarrasses the government. The refugees are reluctant to leave. The government says their only real options are to go home or return to the neighborhoods they were chased out of, where they might be beaten and intimidated again. Repatriating the refugees will be equally hard. Many of the refugees come from countries racked by conflict, and across South Africa an estimated 30,000 refugees have nowhere to go. This has caused bickering amongst the provincial and national governments. A city spokesman says many cities are already stretched thin in services they can provide to refugees. After weeks of fighting the two governments are meeting to come up with a joint plan.

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