Zuma thanks UN for backing liberation struggle

2011-09-23 08:43

The struggle against apartheid was one cause that united the international community, President Jacob Zuma said in the United States last night.

Addressing a UN General Assembly in New York, Zuma said since India had led the international community in speaking out against the system of racial oppression and discrimination in South Africa, the country had never looked back.

“The UN was one pillar that held this movement against apartheid together. It was one centre of gravity through which the world could speak in one voice to say ‘No to apartheid’.

“No matter how hard the apartheid regime knocked on the door of the UN, it was never accepted as a full member of the international community. It was isolated, boycotted, and left out in the cold,” said Zuma.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon highlighted that the occasion was also cause to celebrate the centenary of the ANC.

He said: “The ANC is more than a political party. It is a movement – and a tangible expression of a vision. The commitment and sacrifice of its members led to the emancipation of a nation from racist colonial rule.”

He said the ANC’s success and power was, however, accompanied by great responsibility.

“The power of the ANC lies not just in the numbers of people who vote for it, but the vision that it stands for. This has always been the movement’s strength, and it is this vision that the world looks to now.

“The struggle for freedom, justice, human rights and against racism is a global battle. I see the ANC in the vanguard, not just in South Africa but throughout the continent and the globe.”

Ban-Ki said he counted on the party’s continued effort to defend the fundamental principles enshrined in the UN’s Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike,” he said.

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