Statement by Ambassador Jerry Mathews Matjila permanent representative of the Republic of South Africa General debate on the follow-up to the 9th and 11th special sessions of the Human Rights Council, 22 March 2010, Palais Des Nations

Mr. President

The South African delegation thanks the High Commissioner for the presentation of her report, and welcomes the recommendations contained therein. Indeed the recommendations reveal a very bleak picture in the area, with Israel taking responsibility for most of the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Several teams have thus far been dispatched under the auspices of this Council. All these have presented recommendations which have not been implemented by Israel. South Africa appreciates the fact that the High Commissioner’s report and its recommendations are directed at both parties. We urge the parties to implement the recommendations directed to them, as well as those contained in the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission led by Justice Goldstone.

The South African Government has always urged both sides to exercise restraint and not resort to violence which hitherto has taken far too many lives and caused destruction of property and infrastructure. The future of both Palestine and Israel can only be assured through peaceful resolution of their political differences and desisting from acts of aggression. It is in this context that South Africa condemns the Israeli Policy of Expansion of Settlements in the Palestinian Territory.

In South Africa’s view, there can be no impunity for grave violations of human rights. The Special Rapporteurs and various UN agencies have outlined the desperate and dire situation to which Palestinians have been subjected, especially through the blockade in Gaza. The Council has a responsibility to ensure that Israel complies with its international human rights and humanitarian obligations.  In this regard, South Africa therefore expects members of this Council to support the adoption of the resolution placed before the current session by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

In conclusion, South Africa calls for:

  1. the dismantling of check points;
  2. the removal of the blockade in Gaza;
  3. allow the transportation of building material for the reconstruction of Gaza;
  4. ceasation of settlement activities;
  5. the release prisoners;
  6. the investigation of the type of weapons used in Gaza; and
  7. the resumption of negotiations.

I thank you.



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