SA abstains on resolution to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, says constructive solutions focused on addressing the humanitarian situation and promoting peaceful dialogue remains imperative in the Ukraine.

Pandor was briefing media on Friday on South Africa’s approach and position to the conflict in the Ukraine.

This comes after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council on Thursday.

The resolution received a two-thirds majority in the 193-member General Assembly, with 93 countries voting in favour, 24 against and 58 abstaining. South Africa has again abstained on the resolution.

This is the third resolution since 2 March 2022 tabled on the Ukraine at the UN General Assembly, on which South Africa abstained.

Pandor said South Africa is not indifferent to what is going on in the Ukraine, and remains deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and deteriorating humanitarian situation.

She said South Africa, countries on the continent and several other members of the Global South who are affected by the conflict, have sought to assert their independent, non-aligned views on the matter.

“We have resisted becoming embroiled in the politics of confrontation and aggression that has been advocated by the powerful countries. Instead, we have promoted peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.” 

She said one of their concerns is the “seeming lack of balanced evidence in the United Nations”.

"There needs to be consistency in the approach of the international community to countries that violate international law.

“The international community must focus on finding a sustainable solution. It will not be found in isolating one party or bringing it to its knees,” Pandor said.

The Minister reiterated that President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed to all key stakeholders that South Africa stands ready to support the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Ukraine, with a view to bringing the violence to an end as speedily as possible.

“We are fully cognisant of the deliberate opposition to our call for peace and negotiations, and continue to hold the view that in the end, negotiations will end the conflict,” she said.

As a matter of urgency, Pandor called for a cessation of hostilities, which would be the first step in a comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis. 

“We continue to stress that dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path to end the current conflict. As we stated in the General Assembly yesterday, wars end when dialogue begins and wars endure when there is no dialogue,” she said. –

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