SA regrets US withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The South African government says it regrets the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

“This development is indeed worrisome and goes against the letter and spirit of multilateralism and the Charter of the United Nations, of which the US was one of the founding countries,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said on Thursday.

The US announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday.

The US Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused the UN human rights body of being "a protector of human rights abusers" and of bias against Israel.

The latest decision by the US follows a series of withdrawals from key multilateral bodies, including binding decisions and the concomitant withholding of funding to these bodies.

South Africa said it believes that it is important for all members of the UN to remain fully committed to multilateral processes.

Pretoria said it recognises that the world is increasingly interconnected and with this understanding in mind, the withdrawal of any member of the UN from the bodies created by the institution is cause for concern.

“The challenges facing the global community are such that solutions can only be found in working together.

“Paramount among these challenges are the constant struggles for the eradication of global poverty and underdevelopment in the context of the realisation of the right to development, the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the realisation of the right to self-determination and statehood for those peoples who remain subjugated and living under foreign occupation,” Dirco said.

The South African government emphasised that the UNHRC should address human rights situations in a fair and balanced manner, and that any allegation or perceived instance of politicisation, double standards, and selective targeting of specific situations must be addressed within the framework of the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2005, which gave effect to the establishment of the UNHRC.

South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to the UNHRC and the continued defence of its mandate as the principal organ of the UN for the promotion and protection of human rights in the world. -