Rhodes University is a member of IEASA, who has issued the following statement with regard the recent xenophobic attacks.
The International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) adds its voice and support to the growing condemnation of the current wave of xenophobic attacks on non-nationals in South Africa. As an organisation promoting the internationalisation of higher education and whose member institutions in the public higher education sector welcome international students and staff to the country these attacks undermine our efforts to create a nation that celebrates diversity and multi-culturalism, and go against the fundamental right to freedom of movement. IEASA celebrates all international students, staff and community members, from elsewhere in Africa, and every corner of the globe, who add to the diversity and richness of our society. Discrimination, in whatever form, shatters the very foundation of any society while cultural diversity is a cherished asset for the advancement and welfare of humanity.
IEASA considers an individual’s right to safety non-negotiable and calls on the leadership of its member institutions to publicly condemn all threats or incidents of xenophobic violence and to support and strengthen conflict resolution and prevention at every opportunity. Ensuring the safety of students has to be paramount in engagement in community work and a proactive approach is required to student safety issues. IEASA is committed to ensuring a tolerant and peaceful environment for all international staff, students and community members of our society by encouraging all to embrace the principles of equality and multiculturalism.
Institutions and its members are urged to create an environment that fosters dialogue against discrimination, counters intolerance, and promotes a strong and humane approach to addressing issues of diversity.
IEASA supports a global humanism, which in South Africa finds its expression in Ubuntu, where every person is worthy of equal respect and where a person’s human interest, value and human dignity prevail. Xenophobia is a threat to the future world society and civil culture while humanism gives meaning to every life, not just the lives of those born in our own country.
Dr Nico Jooste
17 April 2015