South Africa Has to Tread a Fine Line in Foreign Policy - and At the UN


In framing our foreign policy, and the way we vote at the UN, South Africa has to be acutely aware of resolutions on civil and political rights where the intention is to exacerbate global political tensions. One example is when countries with atrocious human rights records engage in pink-washing, the introduction of motions that highlight supposedly progressive LGBTQI policies while the proposers disregard the human rights and dignity of other groups.

Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has positioned human rights as central to South Africa's foreign policy. It is important to locate human rights and foreign policy within the context of global politics and the architecture of international human rights law. This should assist in locating the role of South Africa as an African country, a developing country within the global south, but also a country guided by the principle of constitutional supremacy. This discussion must reflect on the history, role and purpose of the United Nations (UN).

The UN was primarily established to regulate conflicts between countries in the wake of the destruction of the two world wars. The key purpose of the UN is therefore to prevent war and especially the unilateral use of force. This regulation of "peace...

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