SA to take part in human rights talks

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pretoria- International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim is expected to participate in the high-level segment of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement that over 80 ministers and other senior dignitaries will address the meeting on human rights matters of national interest and concern during the four-day gathering.

The council will also consider reports from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and the fact finding mission on Israeli settlements.

“Interactive dialogues will also be held with experts on the human rights situation in Syria, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar and Iran, and on technical assistance and cooperation with experts on Côte d'Ivoire and Haiti.”

The department said South Africa played a leadership role in several inter-governmental processes at the UN pertaining to human rights and social development issues. It is also the current Chair of the Open-ended Working Group on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), whose objective is to elaborate a legally-binding regulatory framework and to ensure that PMSCs are held accountable for their activities.

South Africa is also the current chair of the Ad-hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) aimed at combatting contemporary forms of racism.

“Together with the Irish Foreign Minister, South Africa is the co-facilitator of the President of the UN General Assembly's High-level event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This event adds further momentum and commitment towards the achievement of the MDGs up to 2015 and beyond,” read the statement.  -