| SA GLAAD Praises Unexpected SA Government Support Of UN Statement On Human Rights
On behalf of SA GLAAD, I would like to express our gratitude that the government of South Africa has signed the statement issued at the UN Human Rights Council, which was signed by 85 countries, entitled "Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity."
The news was received this morning with a mixture of elation and surprise, as it was generally expected that South Africa was not going to sign the UN statement, as it had not supported similar UN statements addressing the topic of homosexuality in the past, and had been in international news on several occasions recently for reportedly saying it would not support this initiative.
We also wish to express our thanks and appreciation to those who organized and supported petitions, both internationally and locally, for people to express their wish that the SA Government sign the statement, and for the attention which other human rights bodies, local and international, have given to this issue.
Over the past few weeks there has been a great deal of confusion among human rights advocacy organizations caused by conflicting reports about South Africa's willingness to support this initiative. This situation was exacerbated by our country's past failure to support a similar initiative in 2008, as well as the puzzling lack of effective official communication from the SA government to the Pink Community on this issue. We hope that in future such misunderstandings and miscommunications can be avoided.
Showing support for our community's human and civil rights as enshrined in our country's Constitution in both local affairs and foreign policy is no small thing, and will not be taken lightly. We are hopeful that this is an indication that government is indeed taking a keen interest in the welfare of ALL its citizens and that it bodes well for the future.
We also take this opportunity to praise the three other African countries who supported the UN statement – the Central African Republic, Rwanda and Sierra-Leone – for holding high the torch of equality, liberty and human rights in Africa. It is our hope that South Africa will lead the way in advancing equality, prosperity and humanity in Africa, and that this be the beginning of a new era of ubuntu on our continent.
It is indeed of grave concern that so few countries in Africa view LGBTI people as deserving of recognition, dignity, equality and decent treatment – and it is disturbing that so many African states view oppression, intolerance, persecution and cruelty as justifiable and even morally correct.
We encourage South Africa to associate more with African countries which cherish the ideals enshrined in our Constitution, and who seek to become like our rainbow nation – and to show them support, leading by example – rather than maintaining ties and shameful associations with states which demonstrate little or no regard for the human rights and dignity of their own people or for the value of human life.
As citizens of South Africa, we would prefer to see our tax Rands and economic contributions invested in uplifting Africa better applied in building a spirit of ubuntu and promoting the values we as South Africans stand for, as enshrined in our Constitution – rather than used to fund and support regimes which devalue human life, make a mockery of democratic principles – and embarrass our nation.
Once again, thank you South Africa for making our voice in the international community of nations, and our Constitution, count for something good and positive – and for making us Pink South Africans proud too for a change.
We hope it will not be the last time.
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