Media Statement

29 February 2012

Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concludes his participation in the High-Level Segment of the 19th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concluded his participation in the High-Level Segment of the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 February - 01 March 2012.

Deputy Minister Fransman delivered his statement today, Wednesday, 29 February 2012, during the plenary meeting of the High-Level Segment. His statement focused on contemporary issues facing the international human rights system and the agenda of the Human Rights Council. The Deputy Minister emphasised that South Africa, through its engagements with the UN system, continues to focus on priorities such as the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights, including making the right to development a reality for all.

Deputy Minister Fransman urged the major financial institutions and major economies to meet their obligation and pledges towards assisting developing countries to meet their MDGs targets.

The Deputy Minister announced that South Africa will present its 2nd Country Report to the 13th Session of the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism (UPR) of the UNHRC in June this year. "The UPR Report is primarily intended to confirm South Africa's commitment to the core values and principles enunciated in the South African Constitution in the areas of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms", the Deputy Minister said.

In conclusion, Deputy Minister Fransman raised concern that the partiality, in which some international bodies are perceived to respond to situations of human rights abuse in different parts of the world, is problematic. "It is the responsibility of this Council to ensure that this type of selective application of the definition of human rights is being stopped, and that all peoples everywhere in the world are protected from abuse", the Deputy Minister said.

During his visit to Geneva, Deputy Minister Fransman held bilateral talks with his counterparts, as well as with Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Human Rights from Europe, Asia and Africa. Issues discussed included the strengthening of bilateral cooperation with strategic countries to further the objectives of multilateral cooperation in those areas where South Africa share common vision and objectives. Other issues raised were human rights matters and enhancing regional, continental and global governance institutions and international platforms.

The HRC panel discussion on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which South Africa will chair on 07 March 2012, was also raised during bilateral talks.

Deputy Minister Fransman also paid a courtesy call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanathem Pillay. Technical assistance and cooperation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in human rights capacity-building at country and regional level, were discussed.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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