Status on implementation of resolutions against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 178  (NO3462E )

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 32-2011 OF 18 OCTOBER 2011

MS L JACOBUS (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

  1. Whether she has taken any steps to implement the resolutions that was taken at the at the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban from 31 August to 8 September 2001 (details furnished); if not, why not; if so, (a) what steps, (b) at what stage of implementation are the resolutions currently, and (c) what barriers have been encountered to fully implement the resolutions of the conference?

REPLY

Let me first indicate that ordinarily the Department of Justice and Constitutional  Development (DOJ&CD) which has the legislative mandate by this Parliament to ensure respect for, promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, can best answer this question. It is also my understanding that some of the follow-up mechanisms at a domestic level, pertaining to this Conference have been spearheaded by the DOJ&CD. 

a) My Department for its part, has over the last decade provided effective leadership within the UN human rights system through resolutions led by the African Group and G-77+China, in follow-up and implementation of the objectives of this Conference. Numerous resolutions have been adopted in this regard. It is worth noting that many EU countries that were part of the consensus in Durban chose not to be part of the consensus towards its implementation.

b) At the UN human rights level, my Department will continue to present resolutions covering those aspects of the DDPA which are the responsibility of the UN. These include, (i) the elaboration of complementary international norms and standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in the form of Additional Protocols addressing issues such as xenophobia, Islamophobia, Anti-semitism, incitement to national, racial, ethnic and religious hatred, racial profiling especially in the context of the war on terror, acts of racism committed through the cyberspace, among others.

c) At the international level, it should sadly be stated that many of our partnersfrom the Global North have not seen it convenient to withdraw their reservations on Articles 4 & 5 of the ICERD and the General Recommendation 15 of the CERD and Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In this context, these States continue to use the right to freedom of opinion and expression as a justification for clear acts of incitement to racial, ethnic and religious hatred which are punishable in international human rights law.  There is unrelenting resistance by many developed States to the instruction of the Conference (paragraph 199 of the Durban Programme of Action) for the UN human rights system to prepare the complementary standards to the ICERD to address the contemporary manifestations of racial discrimination, as outlined above.  

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