National Consultative Meeting On Minority Issues And Political Participation And Celebration Of Africa Human Rights Day Scheduled For 21 October 2009 In Johannesburg.
Pretoria - The Department of International Relations and Coordination (DIRCO) in collaboration with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL), Department of justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA), Academics and Civil society, will convene a Consultative meeting on Minority Issues and Political Participation scheduled for 21 October 2009 at Human Rights House in Johannesburg on the 21st October 2009.
The meeting takes place during the month of October which co-incidentally marks the celebration of Africa human rights day and this year’s theme is ‘Human Rights education: A right for all.’ This year’s celebration will include a keynote address by Advocate Pansy Tlakula representing the African Commission on Human and People’s rights and also effective participation of the communities on issues of culture, religion and language.
Human rights is the central pillar of South Africa’s foreign policy and South Africa plays a critical role in the advancement and promotion of human rights in the relevant international fora. This national consultative process will culminate in the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues (UNFMI) slated for 12-13 November 2009 in Geneva.
BACKGROUND TO THE NATIONAL CONSULTATIVE MEETING.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation received a request, sent via the Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva on 2 June 2009, from the Independent Expert on Minority Issues (IEMI). The IEMI is a special mandate of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC).
The request was seeking information on Minorities and Political Participation in preparation for the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues (UNFMI) due to be held in Geneva on 12-13 November 2009. Accordingly, the DIRCO began consultations with the Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) that are Constitutionally-mandated to deal with issues concerning Culture, Religious and Language.
Twenty three years ago , on the 21st of October 1986, the African continent witnessed the coming into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (the African Charter) which had been adopted earlier by member states of the Organization of African Unity now the African Union on the 27th of June 1981.
The adoption of the African Charter and the establishment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) in 1987 signaled a new era in the promotion and protection of Human rights on the continent.
Africa Human Rights Day offers an opportunity to governments in Africa, and in particular South Africa to reflect on the commitments they have made to their own people’s, to groups and individuals and it provides a space to acquaint themselves with the mandate and programmes of the ACPHR: to address the challenges we face together, as Africa takes its rightful place in the community of nations as region dedicated to the observance of human rights.
For more information contact Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
16 October 2009.