The sixth EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights took place on Tuesday 26th of November 2019 in Brussels.
As Strategic Partners, South Africa and the European Union, share a commitment to democracy, human rights, good governance, tolerance and respect for the rule of law. Our cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels aims to advance progress in these areas inside and outside of our borders. We recognise that increasing our bilateral cooperation and deepening of dialogue with others is crucial for promotion and protection of human rights, as well as defending their universality. South Africa’s non-permanent UN Security Council membership and the upcoming Presidency of the African Union (AU) both create an additional window of opportunity for strategic coordination and cooperation in this respect.
We have used the EU – South Africa Dialogue Forum to exchange views on a wide range of human rights issues with the objective of identifying action which would ensure that our strategic partnership continues to lead to tangible outcomes. In terms of multilateral issues, both sides have discussed issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; promotion of economic, social and cultural rights; fight against torture; women empowerment and gender equality; human rights defenders; as well as business and human rights. Both sides have agreed to explore opportunities for joint action in view of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2020.
In addition to discussions about multilateral cooperation, both sides have exchanged their respective experiences with national implementation of human rights commitments in the area of persons with disabilities; rights of the child; sexual orientation and gender identity.
The EU invited South Africa to consider joining the Good Human Rights Stories Coalition.
The meeting, which was co-chaired by EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore, EEAS Deputy Secretary General Christian Leffler and Director General of the South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation Kgabo E. Mahoai, has taken place back to back with the EU– South Africa Political and Security Dialogue Forum, which took place a day earlier. Conclusions from both meetings will feed into the preparation of the EU – South Africa Ministerial Political Dialogue and EU – South Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in 2020.