SA committed to human rights – Ebrahim

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pretoria - South Africa is committed to the eradication of gender-based violence and the protection of all human rights, International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said.

“South Africa’s foreign policy regards human rights as inherent to all human beings, irrespective of race, gender or sex,” Ebrahim told the High Level Segment of the 22nd session of the United Nation Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He said for South Africa, justiciable economic, social and cultural rights are inextricably linked with civil and political rights.

Ebrahim said it was critical that the Human Rights Council (HRC) is seen as an independent mechanism for the entrenchment of the human rights culture throughout the world including Africa.  But for this to happen, the impartiality of the council is critical.

In serving as an agency for the promotion and protection of human rights globally, the HRC must not be compromised.

“South Africa’s commitment to fighting discrimination arises out of our own experiences and is embedded in our Constitution which includes vulnerable groups.

“My government is firmly committed to the eradication of gender-based violence and the protection of the rights of the gay and lesbian community.”

Furthermore, the consolidation of the country’s democracy over the last 19 years was accompanied by efforts to regenerate respect for human values.

Ebrahim noted that to further address the challenges faced by women, children and people with disabilities, government established a ministry to deal with these issues. A national task team, comprising of representatives from government and civil society, was set up to respond to the challenges faced by the gay and lesbian community.

“We will continue to encourage dialogue within and outside the council whilst respecting the views of all,” he added. –