PRESS RELEASE: UNHCR urges peaceful resolution of protest in its Pretoria compound

Some 150 foreign nationals, involved in a protest since 8 October outside UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s office in Pretoria, South Africa, have forced their way into the compound this morning. The group may include refugees and asylum-seekers. The majority of our staff were safely evacuated out of the building.

UNHCR is engaged in a dialogue with the protestors, urging them to avoid any act of violence, vacate the premises and contribute to finding viable solutions.

The protesters say they are seeking protection and want UNHCR to relocate them to a safer country.

The latest development follows a Pretoria High Court order issued on Wednesday 13 November, giving three days to foreign protesters to vacate all occupied public areas in the Waterkloof part of the city, where UNHCR has its offices.

The Pretoria High Court also ordered local authorities to identify the foreign protesters camped outside the UNHCR offices in Pretoria and to determine who among them is legally authorised to remain in South Africa.

UNHCR remains committed to working together with the government to find a peaceful resolution of the situation through continued constructive dialogue with the protestors.

In Pretoria, Helene Caux,, +27 82 376 5190
In Pretoria, Pumla Rulashe,, +27 12 762 7413
In Cape Town, Joan Allison,, +27 68 104 6659