SA, EU launch human rights dialogue

2013-05-28 13:10

Policing, violence against women, migration, racism and human rights were among the matters discussed at the launch of the Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights between South Africa and the European Union (EU).

The launch took place in Pretoria yesterday.

The international relations and cooperation department said in a statement today other issues under consideration at the meeting were the International Criminal Court, the death penalty and trilateral cooperation.

The launch was presided over by director-general Jerry Matjila and EU special representative for human rights Stavros Lambrinidis.

Matjila said given South Africa’s history and fight for human rights, achieving fundamental freedom and dignity was important for all South Africans.

“Forging a partnership with the EU should advance significantly the realisation of this common objective,” he said.

Lambrinidis said protecting and promoting human and fundamental rights was a core objective of the EU’s foreign policy.

“We consider South Africa, with its history of struggle for liberation, a key partner in achieving this goal in Africa, Europe and the world,” he said.

The department said civil society would contribute actively to the dialogue.

“Official joint site visits to institutions and facilities, such as prisons and refugee centres, will allow for an exchange of experience and lessons learnt.”

The forum would meet annually, alternating between Pretoria and Brussels.

The next session was expected to be held in Brussels in 2014.

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