Media Statement

02 March 2017

Deputy Minister Landers concludes working visit Geneva, Switzerland

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers has today, Thursday, 02 March 2017, concluded his working visit to Geneva, Switzerland, where he took part in the High-Level Segment of the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC34), held on 27 February – 01 March 2017.

Deputy Minister Landers participated in an interactive dialogue of a High Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming. During his intervention, he maintained that South Africa strongly believes that sustainable peace requires inclusive processes of development, dialogue, reconciliation, a shared commitment to reconstruct viable polities and international cooperation. He also maintained that South Africa believes in the realisation of the right to development and enjoyment of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights to be realised within an environment which entrenches good economic and political governance, peace and security.

The Deputy Minister also delivered South Africa’s statement at the High Level Segment of the Council on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, which outlined South Africa’s continued implementation of its international human rights commitments. In his statement, he highlighted the ongoing violations of the realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Palestine and Western Sahara, which remains an issue of serious concern, and subsequently, should also remain pivotal to the work of the Human Rights Council. Deputy Minister Landers said: “South Africa cannot claim to be free while the people of Palestine and Western Sahara continue to bear the brunt of occupation, oppression and the denial of their right to self-determination.”

On the sidelines of the High Level Panel, Deputy Minister Landers held bilateral meetings with different organisations and Ministers, including the Western Sahara Minister for Europe and member of the Buro Executives of the Polisario Front, Minister Mohamed Sidati, where he emphasised South Africa’s position in intensifying its solidarity with the Polisario Front liberation movement as they lead the people of Western Sahara in their quest for peace and independence. The First Vice President of South Sudan, General Taban Deng Gai, thanked South Africa for its continued support to building peace and stability in South Sudan.

Deputy Minister Landers also met with the UNHRC Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Kelly Clements, and exchanged views on issues of refugees, ending statelessness and the migrant situation. The other bilateral meeting was held with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), President Peter Maurer, where discussions focussed on areas of cooperation, ICRC financial support and the South African White Paper on the amendment of the Refugees Act.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974


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