‘Education key to war on xenophobia’ says Pandor

Minister for International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor Photo: www.msn.com
South Africa is of the view that humanitarian support and law needs to go well beyond the conduct of defense forces and should begin addressing emerging conditions such as xenophobia through education.

This was revealed by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor in her statement at the high-level side event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Convention at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York on Monday (September 23). Pandor is currently leading a delegation from South Africa which includes the Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu to the United States for her inaugural UN General Assembly as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

Pandor says previously the country “held the view that having a progressive constitution with an enabling Bill of Rights would cause respect for humanity and ensure this is a sufficient condition for our people”. She laments that this no longer sufficient and more needs to be done through the country and the world’s education systems to “inculcate respect for diversity, respect for others and openness toward the arrival of migrants to one’s country”. The Minister also spoke on the importance of developing migrations laws that protect non-citizens.

Her address comes a week after the second group of more than three hundred Nigerian nationals fleeing from xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Nigeria. Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have been highly critical of the South African government’s reaction to the spate of xenophobic attacks in the country of late. The government, Pandor in particular has been quoted as saying, the attacks must be attributed to a concoction of issues which include a high unemployment rate and worsening poverty levels

The assembly is expected to continue up until September 30 and the Minister is expected to partake in the annual General Debate where global issues, such as poverty alleviation, migration and climate change will be discussed. The latter issue has come under the spotlight in the wake of an impassioned speech by Swedish teenage environmental activist, Greta Thunberg who has called out the world’s leaders on their perceived indifference and inaction on climate change, stating “we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth”.