26 March 2018
South Africa has yet again condemned Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people to being “akin to Apartheid”.
Using the “A-word” five times in her input at the UN Human Rights Council, senior South African diplomat, Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko likened the former regime to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. South Africa’s statement came as the 54-member group of African states, representing over 28% of the UN, issued a strong joint condemnation of Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and reaffirmed their support for “the historic fight of the Palestinian people to realise the right to freedom”. Representatives from Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, Senegal and Somalia also made hard-hitting contributions at the debate.
Here is Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko input delivered on 22 March 2018 at the UN Human Rights Councilon on behalf of South Africa:
“We align ourselves with the statement of the Africa group made by Togo. South Africa fully concurs with the [UN] High Commissioner for Human Rights that the occupied Palestinian Territories are under belligerent occupation and that this constitutes an egregious violation of the human rights of the people of Palestine, akin to Apartheid.
We are deeply concerned by the ongoing practices of detention without legitimate grounds of legal basis, unlawful administrative detention practices, similar to apartheid, violations of due processes guaranteed in criminal proceedings including acquisition of evidence under pressure or duresses similar to apartheid practices.
The arbitrary detention of hundred of Palestinian children and the undermining of freedoms of expression. For a long time, apartheid was at war with African children, this is what is happening in Palestine.
We condemn in the strongest terms settlement construction, expansion and consolidation, settler violence, discriminatory law enforcement, coercive environments leading to population transfers and forced evictions and collective punishment meted out by the occupying power in the form of the punitive sealing of houses, discriminatory planning and zoning and punitive demolition of homes…All of this happened to us under Apartheid, there’s no difference between what is happening to the people of Palestine with what was done under Apartheid in South Africa.
In the century of the year of the birth of Nelson Mandela we would do well to remember his warning that ‘a person taking away another’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred. And that the oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity’. In this light we call upon the international community to stop ignoring the atrocities perpetrated on the Palestinian people.” Click here to watch Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko at the UN Human Rights Council.
As members of South African civil society we welcome our Government’s input at the UN. Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko correctly represented the views of our people on Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and we commend South Africa as well as other African countries who are ensuring that Israel is held accountable for its violations of international law and human rights abuses.
ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA