Friday, November 9, 2007

South Africa Impedes UN Motion to Condemn Rape as a Tactic

Africa: What the hell has gotten into South Africa that it has become the D-bag on the UN security council?

"....While the resolution does not mention any countries by name, the Bush administration has cited accusations that rape was being employed by soldiers and militia members as a tactic for intimidation and warfare, notably in Sudan and Myanmar.

“The South African position is shocking,” said Kristen Silverberg, the assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, given “South Africa’s long struggle against oppression.” She noted that the South African government took a strong domestic position against sexual violence.

Speaking in a telephone interview from Washington, Ms. Silverberg said that the South Africans were demanding watered-down language that would make the resolution one about sexual violence in general rather than one about sexual violence sponsored by governments. “We think there is a real difference between governments that fail to prevent rape and governments that actively promote it, and we do not want the resolution to blur that difference,” she said.

South Africa has turned out to be a good friend of tyrants not out of strategy but real friendship.

"Asked about Ms. Silverberg’s expression of shock at South Africa’s position, Baso Sangqu, the country’s deputy ambassador, said, “I am shocked about that statement because we have been working very closely within the African group to find agreement on this resolution.”

He said, “We are objecting to the resolution because it is politicized and singles out clear categories of rape. We want a resolution that is nonpoliticized and that looks at rape in a holistic manner in all its situations including rape by soldiers in detention centers and in situations of foreign occupation.”

.....Since beginning its two-year term as a member of the Security Council in January, South Africa has continually been criticized at home and by longtime supporters abroad for withholding the same sorts of international human rights condemnations at the United Nations that helped end apartheid.

In the cases of Myanmar and Zimbabwe, two notorious rights violators, South Africa moved to tone down or prevent harsh actions by the Council. And it has resisted proposals for strict measures by the Council put forward by Britain, France and the United States to curb Iran’s nuclear program, even though South Africa is the only country ever to have renounced its nuclear program of its own accord.

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