Another chapter of the European refugee crisis opened recently as a group of 50 or so citizens of the Republic of South Africa sought asylum in the United Kingdom claiming a genuine threat to their safety.
The group calling itself the “Springboks” is thought to be making the request after a recent clash with a group of Japanese citizens which has brought great shame to the proud African nation and may cause grave repercussions for the South Africans.
Springbok spokesperson, Jean de Villiers, filed the request on behalf of the group.
“It is with great shame and humility that I, on behalf of my friends and comrades, make a formal request for asylum in The United Kingdom, where we are currently located for the purpose of an international sporting and cultural exchange and where we would like to live out the rest of our lives.
We fear for our safety if we were to return to our homeland following the recent incident with citizens from Japan, for which we express our regret to our countrymen back home.”
The group followed an unconventional path to asylum seeker status, having arrived on charter flights and at the invitation of the United Kingdom, but believe the threat to their safety is real.
The United Kingdom and European counterparts have agreed to hold an emergency summit to assess the claim and make a decision. The meeting will take place with some degree of urgency as the Springboks were set to remain in the United Kingdom for no longer than six weeks, but may be forced to return home even sooner following the outcome of the recent incident.
The European Commission released a short statement in response to the request.
“Every request for asylum is treated on merit and undergoes a thorough investigative process before a decision is made and the same process will be followed in this instance. However, the reaction of a group of protestors in England, clad in green clothing, waving flags and displaying war paint, indicates to the authorities the depth of feeling and thus the importance of arriving at a solution as soon as possible.”
The government of The Republic of South Africa reacted to the situation immediately.
“We as the representatives of our people will always do everything we can to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of all of our citizens…” it announced in a statement.
“…but in this instance we cannot assure the group called the Springboks of their safety as there are rogue elements which are active in this country, especially considering the enormous degree of raw emotion and feeling at play in this issue. Thus, we will closely monitor the situation and will work together with our British and European counterparts in order to render a swift and suitable outcome to the problem.”