South Africa's vote on Myanmar: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

1. WHAT IS SOUTH AFRICA'S STANDPOINT ON THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR?

South 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.
Thirdly, we 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?

South Africa's 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.

It 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?

Most 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

The 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 of Churches.

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.


We 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.

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