Research Report: Operation Dudula’s vigilantism: A threat to the rule of law and the Constitution, What the law says about ‘citizen’s arrest’

Foundation for Human Rights’s newest report “Operation Dudula’s vigilantism: A threat to the rule of law and the Constitution, What the law says about ‘citizen’s arrest” has been prepared in a response to the emergence and increased activism of Operation Dudula, which has become known for organised actions targeting migrants, with a focus on those from other African countries.

The research report demonstrates that Operation Dudula’s activities are not only unlawful but are, in fact, in violation of rights guaranteed by both our Constitution and international law. The South African state or individuals involved could be held accountable for these violations before domestic courts or, arguably, international bodies.

  • The research report responds to claims that Operation Dudula operates in accordance with the law and is intended to:
  • Highlight the legal basis for an arrest by a private person without a warrant, commonly referred as a ‘citizen’s arrest’;
  • Demonstrate the difference between a citizen’s arrest and vigilantism;
  • Stress South Africa’s international and constitutional obligations with respect to the rights of migrants in the current context; and
  • Demonstrate how Operation Dudula and the South African state violate migrants’ rights in South Africa.

In addition to the full research report, the FHR has developed a short pamphlet, which succinctly summarises the key points of the full report. In order to access or download the pamphlet click HERE.



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"“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”

Barbara Gittings, American activist for LGBT equality