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Background: Solidarity made UN recommendations a reality in 2016
Solidarity last year achieved great success during the session with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and is ready to resume the case and to make our voice heard again on an international platform later this year.
South Africa’s policy on affirmative action was scrutinised last year after Solidarity personally submitted a complaint to CERD. Among other things, it was argued that the South African government was disregarding the UN convention prohibiting all forms of racial discrimination. Notwithstanding the opposition and accusations by the South African government, Solidarity still achieved great success and in reaction, the union received a composite report with recommendations from the UN committee. Because of this report, South Africa now has to report in writing on the implementation of these recommendations within two years.
The report does not beat about the bush, requesting an explanation from the South African government about the impact affirmative action has on employment, training and political and public affairs. The report also requires the government to use a more comprehensive approach to statistics and to take into account all relevant statistics and not only racial information.
Should the South African government not comply with CERD’s recommendations, the committee is empowered to make recommendations during the 2020 session, in terms of which the government could then be required to put an end to the race-based affirmative action in South Africa.
Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann views the visit to the UN as a huge breakthrough. High but positive expectations have been created by the fact that affirmative action in South Africa has now for the first time formally been put on the UN’s agenda and that the country is required to give a formal explanation for the policy.
Solidarity started early in 2017 and set the ball rolling with big plans and expectations of success. On 15 February 2017, the UN report on racial discrimination, together with a formal request to give effect to the recommendations, will be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission.
Click here to read the document that will be handend in at the HRC