Engagement matters : South Africa, the United Nations and a rights-based foreign policy

27 Jun 2014

This article critically examines the role of South Africa with special reference to the values embodied in the human rights principles of the UN system and argues for a reemphasis of a rights-based foreign policy guided by a non-alignment loyal only to the normative frameworks established by the UN for global governance. It is argued that South Africa’s foreign policy should be measured mainly in terms of its willingness to engage with the global governance system as represented by the UN, and its support of the normative frameworks codified by the UN as relevant reference points for any country’s policy. It is suggested that South Africa, despite its claims of being in unconditional support of such rights-based agenda, might be able to do better if less guided by strategic parameters.