SA bothered by trade, not rights: SAHRC
Johannesburg - The South African government's foreign policy is focused more on trading with China and has failed to consider human rights, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Monday.
"When South Africa establishes trade and diplomatic relations with any country, it is absolutely imperative that human rights principles form one of the primary pillars of these relations," spokesperson Vincent Moaga in a statement.
The commission was reacting to South African woman Janice Linden's execution for drug smuggling by Chinese authorities on Monday.
"Her sentence is a violation of commonly accepted basic human rights, particularly the rights to life and dignity."
Moaga said the commission recognised China's right to punish those found guilty of crimes, but opposed the sentence.
Linden was executed by lethal injection on Monday. She was arrested in 2008 when she was caught with 3kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) in her luggage.
The Inkatha Freedom Party said the Chinese should have considered its trade relations with South Africa before executing Linden.
"With the current growing trade relations between China and South Africa, one would have hoped this relationship would have influenced China differently," IFP MP Ben Skosana said in a statement.
The Democratic Alliance said the government had not done enough to prevent the execution.
"Whilst we firmly believe that drug mules should be punished for their offences, this punishment does not fit the crime," MP Stevens Mokgalapa said in a statement.