AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
South Africa has called for a radical reform of the United Nations and a lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan.
In a special address to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said changes had to be made because “the UN Security Council does not reflect the world in which we live.”
The President, who is also chair of the African Union (AU), repeated South Africa’s call for greater representation of African countries on the Security Council and asked that the call be taken up with urgency at the intergovernmental negotiations.
South Africa also called for an end to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara and for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The country also called for the lifting of the economic embargo and blockade of Cuba.
Ramaphosa called on the international community and partners to support the rollout of a comprehensive stimulus package for African countries working hard to rehabilitate economies shattered by COVID-19.
He said; “This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19 but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies. To ensure that no country is left behind we reiterate our position as the African Union that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their governments to respond adequately to the pandemic. We also call for the suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debt. As the African Union, we are encouraged by the collaboration of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank and the UN towards finding solutions to debt sustainability in developing countries.
“This pandemic has highlighted the urgency with which we must strive to meet all the Sustainable Development Goals, but more importantly Goal 1 – to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. For until we eradicate global poverty, we will always fall short of realising the vision of the founders of the United Nations. We must expand economic opportunities to all people around the world, but most especially to the young, to women and to the vulnerable people in the world. We must boldly pursue avenues of redistribution and redress as a means of advancing shared prosperity.
“We must deal decisively with the root of corruption that is robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right. Together, we must raise our level of ambition to ensure that every man, every woman and every child has an equal chance at a better future.
It is a future free of hunger, disease, insecurity and war. It is a world that affirms the dignity and worth of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or social circumstances.”
He said South Africa, as a country that has known too well the anguish of institutionalised racism, supports the demands for swift action against racism, whether committed by individuals, companies, officials or a state.
Ramaphosa said as nations of the world marked the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, they must intensify efforts to empower women and girls.
“It is the right of women and girls to be full and equal participants in the workplace, in political life and decision-making, in the economy, in obtaining an education and in society as a whole.
South Africa is proud to be a member of the UN’s Generation Equality campaign and has prioritised the eradication of gender-based violence and femicide.
At a continental level, we are working to finalise and adopt an AU Convention on Violence against Women during the course of this year. AU member states are engaging on measures to promote financial inclusion, preferential procurement and preferential trade agreements for women,” Ramaphosa said.