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South Africa, EU Agree To Jointly Promote Human Rights


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – South Africa and the European Union (EU) have agreed to collaborate in organizing events and expert level exchanges on a number of specific issues, including gender equality, business and human rights and the right to development.

The agreement was reached at the 7th EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights which was held on Tuesday in Brussels.

EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, EEAS Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Global Issues, Helena König, and Director General of the

South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Zane Dangor, co-chaired the meeting. It was held back-to-back with the EU – South Africa Political and Security Dialogue Forum, which took place a day earlier.

The Dialogue provided an opportunity for a dynamic exchange of views on bilateral and multilateral issues related to the promotion and protection of human rights, which are core values of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership.

The EU and South Africa recognise that increasing their bilateral cooperation and dialogue with other partners is crucial for the protection and promotion of human rights as well as defending their universality and indivisibility. Discussion addressed in a frank and constructive way a series of topics of shared interest.

The two sides updated each other on their respective domestic human rights related developments since the last dialogue in 2019. The two parties also discussed the situation of human rights defenders, racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance, and agreed on the need to strengthen mechanisms for the protection of human rights of all, and to ensure an enabling and safe civic space.

Both sides equally agreed to gather a group of countries to exchange best practices on how to enhance protection of human rights defenders. The also agreed to continue expanding their cooperation in the field of human rights and to hold the 8th EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights in 2023 in South Africa.



The two delegations exchanged views on progress and remaining challenges in the field of gender equality, women’s rights, rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and fight against gender-based violence. Issues related to business and human rights, the right to development, and the link between human rights and the activities of private military and security companies were also discussed.

The EU and South Africa devoted part of the meeting also to cooperation in multilateral human rights fora, with a particular view of the upcoming debates at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. In this context, South Africa informed about its candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council in the term 2023-2025 and requested the EU for support. The EU invited South Africa to join the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade.

In a related development, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, will travel to Mozambique and Kenya on 8-10 of September.

The visit will be an opportunity to further deepen ties and cooperation with African partners in a new geopolitical context and will focus on issues such as upholding the multilateral order, the global food and energy crisis and cooperation for the continent’s peace and security.

On the 8th and 9th, the High Representative will be in Mozambique. On the first day he will meet with President Filipe Nyusi and with Foreign Minister Verónica Macamo. Following the meeting, the HR/VP Borrell will hold a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister which will be broadcast on Europe by Satellite (EbS), the EU’s TV information service.

On the second day, he will visit the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Mozambique’s training camp in Katembe and will participate in a handover ceremony of European Peace Facility-funded equipment together with Vice-Admiral Bléjean, Director-General of the EU Military Staff. He will also take part in the ceremony for the change of command of EUTM Mozambique.

In the afternoon, Borell will meet with Defence Minister Cristóvão Chume and will visit an EU-funded cooperation project focused on youth employment. While on the 10th, he will travel to Kenya to meet with the new President William Ruto.


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