Our visit to the UN: Quick questions and answers

CERD is the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a committee of independent human rights experts who abide by a treaty called the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). CERD is a body established by the United Nations (UN) in 1969. The goal of CERD is to eradicate all forms of racial discrimination globally. Therefore, all countries must submit reports to the committee every two years, after which the committee can make general recommendations to governments to address certain issues. The committee also provides for civil society to submit shadow reports, as governments cannot always be trusted to do so. Other ways in which civil society can become involved with CERD are with the establishment of early warning systems, urgent procedures and by way of individual complaint. Solidarity will lodge such a complaint later this year.

  1. Why is it important for Solidarity to lodge a complaint with CERD about racial discrimination?

Solidarity already submitted a shadow report in 2017 on the basis of which the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) warned the government to change their policy of racial classification. This year we are returning to CERD with a complaint to indicate that government has not complied to their demands yet. This is particularly important in light of government’s undertaking to award help packages amid the Covid-19 pandemic on the basis of race.

The international community must take note of our government’s immoral policy of racial discrimination. CERD and the UN needs to be made aware of our government’s failure to align with global norms and values, so that they can eventually be used to force our government through political and legal pressure to comply with basic human rights such as the prohibition of unfair discrimination.

  1. Should the government comply with CERD’s proposals and demands? What authority does CERD have over a government?

CERD is a recognised human rights body that reports directly to the UN. South Africa is a signatory of ICERD and therefore the government is obliged in terms of section 231 of the South African Constitution to comply with the demands of such conventions. In fact, section 231 (4) of the Constitution provides:

Any international agreement becomes law in the Republic when it is enacted into law by national legislation; but a self-executing provision of an agreement that has been approved by parliament is law in the Republic unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.

  1. Why must I give my mandate to Solidarity?

It requires the involvement and zeal of our civil society to put pressure on the government so that they must renounce their harmful and unethical behaviour. This is also why we call on the support of the international community to condemn the government’s violation of human rights.

We must be able to break the ANC’s narrative when they say that they represent the will of South Africans. We need to make it clear that the government is playing ideological games with the lives of our citizens.

We must do this, because it is the right thing to do and it is the only way we can force the government to stop judging people on the basis of race and rather judge them based on merit.

The Covid-19 pandemic is not a crisis that only affects certain people; it affects the whole of South Africa. All businesses are hit hard, but unlike the virus, the government discriminates against people based on the colour of their skin.

We have been aware of the ANC’s horrific racial ideology for some time now. This reaction to the pandemic is only the latest – and grossest – example of it. If we say no, then it is not only for these help packages which is awarded based on race. It is no to the government’s racism.

Solidarity is taking a stand and we are on our way to lodge a complaint against the South African government at the highest authorities in the world. The South African government ignores the norms, values and rights of citizens that is internationally recognised as universal human rights. Our only way out is to lodge a complaint at the UN’s CERD commission. With this we want to force government to treat races equally. This complaint does not demand anything special, strange or excessive – the only thing Solidarity is demanding is normal racial relationships. We merely claim equality before the Law.

We are saying no on behalf of those who were left behind because of their skin’s colour. We are saying no to discrimination. We are saying no because it is our duty.

Say “no” together with us now!

 

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