Disappointment at SA’s vote against UN move to strengthen civil society

The Human Rights Institute of South Africa has expressed disappointment at the South African vote against a resolution by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on civil society.

The resolution, aimed at creating safe spaces for civil society to operate, was passed on 1 July with 31 votes for, 7 against, and 9 abstentions.

The resolution, known as A/HRC/32/L.29, was introduced by Chile, Ireland, Japan, Sierra Leone and Tunisia. It was widely supported by civil society around the world; 244 organisations signed an open letter urging members of the Council to vote for the adoption of the resolution, including the Human Rights Institute of South Africa and international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which have a presence in the country.

The resolution is fuelled by a concern that “in many countries, persons and organizations engaged in promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms frequently face threats, harassment and attacks and suffer insecurity as a result of those activities.”