Press Release

04 March 2014

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to take part in a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Switzerland

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will participate in the high-level segment of the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), scheduled for 03-05 March 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

It is expected that Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will deliver a statement to the Human Rights Council today, Tuesday, 04 March 2014. The statement will cover contemporary issues facing the international human rights system and the agenda of the Human Rights Council.

This will be the first address to the Council following South Africa’s election to this body by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 12 November 2013. Algeria, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa are the four newly-elected members, complementing Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.

The visit of Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to Geneva will also be the first since the passing away of South Africa’s first democratic President, Mr Nelson Mandela. In view of the fact that former President Mandela had dedicated his entire life in defence of human rights and was a strong opponent of any form of racism, it is expected that the Minister’s address to the Council will also focus on celebrating the values of human dignity and equality which Madiba bequeathed to the international community.

South Africa plays a leadership role in several inter-governmental processes at the UN pertaining to human rights and social development issues.

The return of South Africa to the Council coincides with the 20-year celebration of the country’s constitutional democracy.

It is expected that during this segment, a number of High-Level Dialogues will take place on the following topics: Human Rights Mainstreaming; the Promotion of Preventative Approaches within the UN System; and The Question of the Death Penalty.

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


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