SA vote in support of UN resolution on human rights in Myanmar part of 'new approach' – Sisulu

Normal life returned to a Rohingya Muslim refugee camp in Bangladesh after government officials postponed plans to begin repatriating residents to Myanmar when no one volunteered to go. (Dar Yasin, AP)
Normal life returned to a Rohingya Muslim refugee camp in Bangladesh after government officials postponed plans to begin repatriating residents to Myanmar when no one volunteered to go. (Dar Yasin, AP)

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said South Africa's vote in support of the passing of the resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar on Saturday in the UN General Assembly was a demonstration of a new dawn in South African foreign policy and a return to its founding principles of standing against human rights violations.

Myanmar has been at the centre of violence targeting Rohingya Muslims, the harsh treatment of ethnic minorities, an about-face on press freedom and crackdowns on civic groups.

Sisulu said that South Africa's support for the resolution was in line with its new way of approaching resolutions in all multilateral bodies.

"All resolutions on country-specific situations will be assessed with different stakeholders involved," Sisulu said.

READ: In Myanmar, economic opportunity and a renewed commitment to democracy are on the horizon if leader Aung San Suu Kyi wants them

The minister is also expected to hold a seminar with diplomats early in 2019 to discuss the UN Security Council (UNSC) programme and South Africa's obligations within the UN system.

"2019 is an exciting year for South Africa as we take our non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the next two years," Sisulu added.

The minister said that Africa and the SADC region remained a strategic foreign policy priority for South Africa as stability in the SADC region and the continent was the cornerstone of socio-economic development in the country and the continent.

Sisulu said that South Africa would continue to highlight the plight of the people of Palestine and Western Sahara, and support all efforts for total liberation of the people.

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