Find­ing our moral voice

Daily News - - VIEWS & ANALYSIS -

SOUTH Africa is look­ing to find its moral voice in the world again, and to do so it needs to cap­i­talise on the op­por­tu­nity of sit­ting on the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil over the next two years.

This is our op­por­tu­nity to shine a light on is­sues that need ad­dress­ing in in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity, and move the big pow­ers to ad­dress the for­got­ten and in­tractable con­flicts.

It is our chance to re­ally crit­i­cise the uni­lat­eral moves of the US and in­sist on a col­lec­tive ap­proach to se­cu­rity is­sues.

While we can­not over­es­ti­mate ei­ther our in­flu­ence or im­por­tance on the world stage, South Africa’s voice does count for some­thing and we will be there rep­re­sent­ing the con­ti­nent.

We there­fore have a moral obli­ga­tion to set the agenda at least in terms of re­solv­ing con­flicts on the con­ti­nent, par­tic­u­larly in South Su­dan, the CAR, Bu­rundi and the DRC.

The days of in­dif­fer­ence must end and the world must re­alise that con­tin­ued in­sta­bil­ity and blood­let­ting in Africa will have con­se­quences for the de­vel­oped world.

We had laud­able goals dur­ing our last two stints as a non-per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UNSC, both times cham­pi­oning a UN res­o­lu­tion that called for greater co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the UNSC and the AU Peace and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. But this time our con­tri­bu­tion must go deeper into ral­ly­ing sup­port for the tan­gi­ble res­o­lu­tion of con­flicts as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

The level of our de­ter­mi­na­tion on the is­sue of con­flict res­o­lu­tion will work to­wards re­gain­ing our moral stature.

OUR pres­ence on the UNSC is not only to ad­dress African pri­or­i­ties, but to weigh in on other in­ter­na­tional is­sues that threaten peace and se­cu­rity.

In keep­ing with our broader for­eign pol­icy agenda, we need to push for ac­tion to pro­tect civil­ians in Gaza who are be­ing mas­sa­cred by Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces, and call for the pro­tec­tion of med­i­cal per­son­nel who are at­tend­ing to the wounded. If we want to give a voice to the voice­less, this is our op­por­tu­nity to do so.

All the in­di­ca­tors sug­gest that the US will opt for a uni­lat­eral mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in Iran, and the rest of the UNSC will be ex­pected to act against such uni­lat­er­al­ism, which would have desta­bil­is­ing con­se­quences for peace and se­cu­rity. We need to be pre­pared for such a fight.

It is time for our De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion to make us proud and rep­re­sent the val­ues and prin­ci­ples that Madiba stood for when he was the cap­tain of our ship.

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