European Union External Action

The 3rd EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights

The 3rd EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights took place on Friday 11 December 2015 in Pretoria. Both Parties engaged in in-depth discussions on issues of common interest and issues upon which deeper reflection is required.  The dialogue was co-chaired by the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis and Director-General of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Jerry Matjila.

The Dialogue was recognised as a useful platform to bring forward the human rights agenda and to narrow the gaps, particularly in multilateral fora. On issues such as country- and thematic resolutions (human rights defenders, peaceful protests, civil society space, reprisals, racism, preventing and countering violent extremism), both sides agreed to share experiences and ideas with each other in advance so as to better understand the issues at stake with the view to bringing both sides closer to agreement.

Both parties shared information on current developments and discussions pertaining to the ICC including in the context of the Assembly of State Parties.

Both sides agree to work in partnership and organise joint side events in areas of mutual concern and interest, and in this regard proposed to mark the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in June 2016.

Both sides agreed to deal with issues of divergence as and when they arise in the framework of local mini dialogues. In addition, focal points in Brussels and Pretoria will be designated to ensure appropriate follow-up and coordination.

Both parties agreed on the centrality and indispensability of civil society's contribution to democracy and human rights discourse in their respective jurisdictions. In this regard, it was agreed that urgent work needs to be undertaken with the South African NGO sector and to define a format of participation for civil society ahead of the next dialogue.

Furthermore, other issues of priority and mutual interest and concern between the parties were thoroughly reflected on and a platform for further deliberations has been established.