Developed by the African Centre for Migration & Society (AMCS) at the University of Witwatersrand, Xenowatch is a tool to monitor xenophobic threats and violence across South Africa. It is an open source system for information collection and sharing. A non-proprietary platform, it collates, visualizes and makes publically available data (collected through media reports, original research, and crowd sourcing) on xenophobia violence incidents in the country. Activists, victims, and observers can report xenophobic threats and attacks using four channels: free SMS, email, mobile app, whatsApp/Call and the website.
Xenowatch aims to track all forms of xenophobic threats and attacks on people and property as well government and civil society responses to such incidents. For our purposes, Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of others based on ethnic, national, or racial background. It is a form of discrimination that manifests itself in violent and nonviolent ways against people from all backgrounds. South African citizens, immigrants, and refugees are all potential victims. This behavior may be aimed at immigrants or refugees, but it may also target South Africans from other villages, ethnic groups, religions or language groups. Even if such incidents intersect with other forms of crime (such as assaults, looting or violent protests); we would like to hear about them.
There is an acute need to develop effective tools for combating xenophobic violence and promoting social cohesion in South Africa. Over the past decade, approximately 150,000 people have been killed, injured, or displaced in xenophobic incidents across the country. Yet government, international organisations, and civil society responses remain hampered by limited information on the frequency, location, and causes of such attacks. Xenowatch will help address this gap. Through crowd-sourcing, mapping, and research, Xenowatch will:
- Monitor xenophobic threats and violence across the country, including official responses to such incidents;
- Serve as an early warning system that notifies authorities and civil society about threats, violence and displacement.
- After receiving reports the platform will immediately inform police, international organisations, and nominated civil society actors;
- Verify and anonymise reports and make them publicly available on Xenowatch.ac.za;
- Provide analyses, maps and interactive statistical tools for users on Xenowatch.ac.za;
- Identify the characteristics of communities at risk and the triggers of violence in ways that can inform conflict prevention and resolution initiatives along with local and national policy;
- Encourage greater accountability among police and other government officials to promote social cohesion and security for all.
Each incident reported will be lodged in a confidential data base. Once lodged, each report will be prioritised, verified, anonymised, relayed, and made publicly available. In urgent cases, incidents will be immediately verified by an ACMS project administrator and anonymised incident descriptions will be relayed to UNHCR, SAPS and other partners. In low priority cases, where there are no active threats or violence, an ACMS administrator will verify the report within 48 hours.
If reporting an emergency, please dial 10111 as we cannot guarantee your message will reach the police in your area.
All verified incidents and government response data is urgently uploaded to Xenowatch.ac.za for immediate public use. The Xenowatch website provides contact and resource information, analyses, maps, and interactive statistical tools that users can use to create their own graphs and diagrams.
Reports of past, current or potential xenophobic incidents can be sent through four methods. All reports should include the location, time, and description of the incident:
- FREE SMS to 44705
- E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Xenowatch mobile app
- Web: www.xenowatch.ac.za
- WhatsApp/Call: +27 (0) 60 794 9882
For information on the platform or to contribute to its success, please contact email@example.com