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Op-Ed: South Africa supports oppression, torture abroad warns Bosnian refugee-journalist

By Adriana Stuijt     Dec 15, 2008 in Politics
Savo Heleta, the Bosnian-born author of the book "Not my turn to die: Memoirs of a broken childhood in Bosnia', has launched a strong attack on the current South African government. He now works in SA as a journalist for AfricaNews.
When it comes to oppression and torture, he knows what he's talking about. He was 13 when the civil war broke out in his country in the early 1990. He and his family survived two years of terror, starvation, detention and dehumanization.see
The young Bosnian-South African journalist thus is well-placed to criticise the current South African government, asking:
Whatever happened to SA's principles of freedom, democracy?"
"Why is a country which suffered so much under oppression in the past today supporting some of the most oppressive regimes around the world?' he asks.
He pointed out that South Africa, during its two-year stint as a temporary member of the UN Security Council, voted consistently against imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, despite the unthinkable crisis and ruthless dictatorship of Robert Mugabe.'
While members of the Zimbabwean opposition party were being killed, ex-president Thabo Mbeki held Mugabe's hand on TV and claimed there was no crisis in Zimbabwe whatsoever, he pointed out.
South Africa also was one of the few countries to block the UN resolution to condemn Myanmar's military junta crackdown on peaceful protesters; voted against imposing any sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program; and voted for the UN to stop monitoring human rights in Uzbekistan and Iran.
And in January 2007, "South Africa was one of 22 countries absent from the UN General Assembly when a resolution was adopted to condemn Holocaust denialism." It also voted against a UN resolution that condemned the "use of rape as a weapon of war."
SA diplomats try to block genocide trial of Sudanese president
Now, he writes, SA diplomats are hard at work in The Hague, 'trying to suspend or delay the International Criminal Court's case against Sudanese president Omar al Bashir for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur. "Never mind the 200,000 dead and millions displaced in the Darfur conflict since 2003, which many analysts and aid organizations label one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world."
"It is difficult to comprehend,' he writes, ' why the SA government still believes Robert Mugabe's dictatorship can be reformed. As the apartheid government n South Africa could not be reformed but had to be removed from power completely, the same will be true in the case of Zimbabwe."
Mugabe's existing power structures must be completely overturned for the sake of the future of Zimbabwe.
"If this goal isn't reached, the country's end cannot be far from sight,'he writes.
The South African government has persisted in claiming that there wasn't any crisis in Zimbabwe. see
"Of course, some will say that South Africa is using the realist approach in international relations as every other country does. ... The current world order is based on realism, or realpolitik, the oldest and most common theory of international relations."
... 'Still, what happened to the values, ethnics, empathy, morals, human decency, and common sense?
" What happened to Nelson Mandela's promise that "human rights will be the light that guides our foreign affairs?" read here
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about South africa supports, Torture abroad, Holocaust denialism, Mugabe dictatorship, Thabo mbeki
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