THE 3RD SOUTH AFRICA – EUROPEAN UNION STRUCTURED DIALOGUE FORUM ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The 3rd SA-EU dialogue took place on Friday 11 December 2015 in Pretoria. Both Parties engaged in in-depth discussions on issues of common interest and issues upon which deeper reflection is required. The dialogue was co-chaired by the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Mr S Lambrinidis and Director-General, Amb. JM Matjila.
The Dialogue was recognised as a useful platform to bring the human rights agenda forward and to narrow the gaps, particularly at the multilateral fora. On issues such as country and thematic resolutions both sides agreed to share experiences and ideas with each other in advance so as to better understand the issues at stake with the view to bringing both sides closer to agreement. (Human rights defenders, peaceful protests, civil society space, reprisals, racism, preventing and countering violent extremism).
Both parties shared information on current developments and discussions pertaining to the ICC including in the context of the Assembly of State Parties.
Both sides agreed to work in partnership and organise joint side-events in areas of mutual concern and interest, and in this regard proposed to mark the occasion of the international day of the victims of torture in June 2016.
Both sides agreed to deal with issues of divergence as and when they arise in the framework of local mini dialogues. In addition focal points in Brussels and Pretoria will be designated to ensure appropriate follow-up and coordination.
Both parties agreed on the centrality and indispensability of civil society contribution to democracy and human rights discourse in their respective jurisdictions. In this regard, it was agreed that urgent work need to be undertaken with the South African NGO sector and to define a format of participation of civil society ahead of the next dialogue.
Furthermore, other issues of priority and mutual interest and concern between the parties were thoroughly reflected on and that a platform for further deliberations has been established.