Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to address the United Nations on the occasion of the High Level Segment of the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 1 March 2010.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will this afternoon, 1 March 2010, address the United Nations on the occasion of the High Level Segment of the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The address by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will be the first such address to the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council since her assumption of her current portfolio of International Relations and Cooperation in the fourth administration of our democratic dispensation.

The 13th Session of the Human Rights Council takes place within the fourth cycle of the Human Rights Council, established in accordance with the United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution (UNGA) 60/251 of 15 March 2006 as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, replacing the Commission on Human Rights.

The highlight of the 13th Session of UNHRC for Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will be her tabling of a South African-sponsored resolution on “Anti-racism in sport”, which has been endorsed by the African Group and Brazil. This, again, comes at an opportune time when South Africa will be hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the next three months and it will also use this as an opportunity to call on the world to abolish racism and all its vestiges across all the sporting codes.

The above resolution will be part of the more extensive package presented by the African Group which includes an item themed “Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance”, and a follow-up to, and implementation of, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) – which is a standing item on the programme of work of the Human Rights Council.

In her address Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to remind delegates that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance continue to bedevil many societies in the world. In this context and in a quest to eliminate these scourges South Africa  hosted the World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance in 2001, that adopted by consensus, the DDPA, which provided a solid basis for the fight against this scourge. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to urge countries to recommit themselves to the implementation of the DDPA.

The resolution on ‘Anti-Racism in Sport’ is South Africa’s contribution to highlighting the challenges that the country still faces in eliminating these scourges.

On 11 February 2010 South Africa celebrated a watershed moment in its history when Nelson Mandela was released from prison 20 years ago. Nelson Mandela walked out of prison because of the struggle of the people of South Africa and the international community, including the United Nations Human Rights machinery.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s programme includes holding bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UNHRC with a number of countries and institutions such as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal to discuss how best to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. She will also seize the opportunity to congratulate the Nepalese delegation on the recent establishment of their Mission in Pretoria, and she will also express South Africa’s willingness to work with the new Mission to strengthen current relations.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will also meet with the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr Sergei Ordzhonikidze, to discuss issues relating to peacekeeping, peace-building, disarmament, conflict resolution and regional cooperation. Another key meeting will be with the US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Governance, Ms Maria Ortega, on the review of the Human Rights Council and the issues related to the establishment of the Ethics Committee.

A critically important issue that will feature prominently in the Minister’s bilateral engagements will be the endorsement of South Africa’s candidature for the United Nations Security Council’s non-permanent seat.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will depart Switzerland tonight, 01 March 2010, for the United Kingdom to join President Jacob G. Zuma on his state visit to that country.

For more information contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on 082 940 1647 or email him at molobisk@dirco.gov.za.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
PRETORIA
0001

01 March 2010


 

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