Date: Feb 7, 2019 Type: , Country:

South Africa: Authorities must refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force during student protests 

South Africa- In response to the free education-related protests and mounting tension on university campuses across the country, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa said:

“Security forces must guarantee student’s right to peaceful assembly and refrain from using teargas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters. Students have a right to express their grievances and the authorities must respect this right.

“Law enforcement officials must comply with international standards governing the use of force in policing protests, and only use force when necessary and proportionate. Private security corporations are not trained to handle protests and universities must desist from relying on them to intimidate students.”

In reaction to the shooting to death of a student on the Durban University of Technology campus, Mohamed added:
“No one should lose their life for standing up to demand their right to education, let alone in a university campus.

“Authorities must expedite a prompt, independent and effective investigation into the shooting that led to the death of a student at the Durban University of Technology campus, and make sure that, if force was used in an abusive manner, all those responsible are brought to justice.”

ENDS.

Background

Students at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban University of Technology as well as the University of Johannesburg are protesting this week over grievances pertaining to fees and accommodation. Students are calling for free accommodation for those affected by historical debt.

A student was killed on Tuesday, 5 February 2019, on the Durban University of Technology campus after one security guard allegedly opened fire during an altercation between protesting students and security forces.  

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Mienke Steytler, Media and Digital Content Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 11 283 6033 (office) or +27 (0)64 890 9224 (mobile); mienke.steytler@amnesty.org.za