The 7th EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights took place on 6 September 2022 in Brussels.
The Dialogue provided an opportunity for a dynamic exchange of views on bilateral and multilateral issues related to the promotion and protection of human rights, which are core values of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership. The EU and South Africa recognise that increasing their bilateral cooperation and dialogue with other partners is crucial for the protection and promotion of human rights as well as defending their universality and indivisibility. Discussion addressed in a frank and constructive way a series of topics of shared interest.
The two sides updated each other on their respective domestic human rights related developments since the last dialogue in 2019. The EU and South Africa discussed the situation of human rights defenders, racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance, and agreed on the need to strengthen mechanisms for the protection of human rights of all, and to ensure an enabling and safe civic space. The two delegations exchanged views on progress and remaining challenges in the field of gender equality, women’s rights, rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and fight against gender-based violence. Issues related to business and human rights, the right to development, and the link between human rights and the activities of private military and security companies were also discussed.
The EU and South Africa devoted part of the meeting also to cooperation in multilateral human rights fora, with a particular view of the upcoming debates at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. In this context, South Africa informed about its candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council in the term 2023-2025 and requested the EU for support. The EU invited South Africa to join the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade.
South Africa and the EU agreed to organise joint events and expert level exchanges on a number of specific issues, including gender equality, business and human rights and the right to development. Both sides also agreed to gather a group of countries to exchange best practices on how to enhance protection of human rights defenders.
The EU and South Africa agreed to continue expanding their cooperation in the field of human rights and to hold the 8th EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights in 2023 in South Africa.
EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, EEAS Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Global Issues, Helena König, and Director General of the South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Zane Dangor, co-chaired the meeting. It was held back-to-back with the EU – South Africa Political and Security Dialogue Forum, which took place a day earlier.