Tuesday, June 03, 2008

LIASA statement on Xenophobia

LIASA is saddened and outraged by the xenophobic violence that is taking place in South Africa.

We endorse sentiments expressed in statements of support for refugees made by a wide-ranging number of civil society organisations. We are sure that many of our members are assisting in whichever way they are able, through either individual, community or institutional efforts.

Libraries are places where, as the SA Library Week theme for this year shows, one can go from local to global, where one can explore the world and broaden one's horizons and be exposed to other cultures and peoples.

Libraries are places where there should be no barriers to the sharing of human knowledge and where everyone should be welcome, so that all of us can gain from each person's growth.

If we do believe, in terms of the Freedom Charter, that libraries open the doors of learning and culture, then libraries should be places where the only unwelcome thing is unfair discrimination. But as libraries really need librarians to give them life and keep them growing, so libraries need librarians to defend their wider purpose.

For this and for other reasons closely connected to our common humanity, LIASA rejects and condemns the xenophobic attacks that have been perpetrated in this country against fellow citizens of Africa.

Ingrid Thomson
National Public Relations Officer
on behalf of
Tommy Matthee, President of LIASA and the LIASA National Executive Committee

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