South Africa's vote on Myanmar: Frequently Asked Questions and
1. WHAT IS SOUTH AFRICA'S STANDPOINT
ON THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR?
Africa's constitution guarantees the human rights of all South Africans. In this
context, South Africa is concerned at the abuse of human rights anywhere where
they may occur in the world.
Secondly, South Africa supports the call by the
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Prof.essor Gambari for the military
rulers in Myanmar to move the country towards democratisation.
concur with the call by the Under Secretary-General for the release of all political
prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi
2. WHY THEN DID SA VOTE AGAINST
THE PROPOSED UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON MYANMAR?
vote against the proposed UN Security Council resolution was not a vote against
the people of Myanmar or a vote for the military rulers of Myanmar. On the contrary,
our own history and struggle against apartheid enjoins us to act in solidarity
with the struggling masses of the world including the peoples of Myanmar.
is our view that the proposed UN Security Council resolution on Myanmar would
have undermined current efforts by the UN Secretary-General to help find a resolution
of the situation in Myanmar.
In addition, it was our view that the issue of
Myanmar at this stage should have been better handled by other United Nations
bodies such as the Human Rights Council.
3. DID SOUTH AFRICA CONSIDER
THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE OF MYANMAR AS WELL AS THE REGION IN WHICH MYANMAR IS LOCATED?
certainly, in the statement made at the UN Security Council during the debate
on Myanmar, South Africa's Permanent Representative to the UN expressed in no
uncertain terms South Africa's concern about the situation in Myanmar thus expressing
South Africa's solidarity with the people of Myanmar.
Secondly, South Africa
should also take into account the views of the region. In this regard South Africa
took into account the views of the regional organisation ASEAN. Countries of the
region, members of ASEAN, consider that Myanmar is not a threat to international
peace and security.
4. AREN'T THESE ARGUMENTS THE SAME USED BY APARTHEID
SOUTH AFRICA TO BLOCK UN SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION TO END APARTHEID
situation of Myanmar and apartheid South Africa are completely different in many
respects. We reiterate our concerns about the situation in Myanmar. On the one
hand, with regard to the situation in South Africa, apartheid was declared a crime
against humanity by the UN General Assembly and a heresy by the World Council
The continent of Africa as a whole including our own region
of SADC, then known as the Frontline States were under constant military incursions
from the then South African Defence Force in pursuit of members of the broad liberation
movement. These incursions saw a number of citizens killed and infrastructure
destroyed in Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.
were witnesses to assassinations of opponents of apartheid across our borders
including Europe. In this regard there are suggestions that the deaths of the
late Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme and the late President of Mozambique
Samora Machel was the work of apartheid agents.
Simultaneously, we witnessed
a full scale war being waged in the territory of an independent sovereign state
of Angola with devastating consequences for the Angolans for over 20 years. On
the other hand, Namibia peoples suffered under the repressive regime of apartheid
for many years.
The UN accordingly declared South Africa a threat to international
peace and security! South Africa indeed feels greatly indebted to the sacrifices
of millions of people around the world who contributed to the downfall of that
threat to international peace and security, apartheid South Africa.