Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation at the Annual High-Level Panel Discussion on Human Rights mainstreaming, 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, Human Rights in the light of Multilateralism: Opportunities, Challenges and the way forward, 25 February 2019
We wish to thank the dignitaries and panellists for sharing their views.
On occasions like this, it is befitting to begin by sharing with you a brief history on South Africa’s culture of human rights mainstreaming. At a time when this human rights body will be concluding its business during the month of March, South Africans will be commemorating our struggle for human rights culminating in our National Human Rights Day on 21 March. This commemoration provides our country to reflect on progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights.
The South African Constitution describes the Bill of Rights as a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa that enshrines the rights of all people and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
It is also one of the few constitutions in the world that includes socio-economic rights without differentiating them from civil and political rights. This includes the rights of access to land, housing, health care, food, water and social security, education and socio-economic rights for children.
The justifiability of socio economic rights in South Africa makes the state and society accountable for the implementation of rights that are generally neglected by human rights multi- lateral institutions. These institutions must begin to treat all human rights equally.
As key proponent of multilateralism, South Africa will continue to defend the primacy of multilateralism; advocating for stronger coordination between the AU and the UN.
We agree that the three pillars development, security and human rights are interrelated. It is our firm conviction that there can be no peace without security; and no security without development and no development without the practical enjoyment of human rights.
I thank you.
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