Migration and global peace highlighted by senior South African government officials

A senior South African parliamentarian wants ‘no effort spared’ to rid the world of conflict with a Cabinet minister calling for a ‘transparent investigation’ into the deaths of migrants in a Spanish enclave in separate statements on aspects of foreign policy.

National Assembly (NA) Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula used last week’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) parliamentarians’ conference in Azerbaijan to call for Palestine and Western Sahara to be included in the “construction of world peace”.

The day before the NAM conference, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, expressed her “regrets and concerns” about the injuries and at least 23 deaths among migrants trying to “cross the border from Morocco to the Spanish city of Melilla (sic)”. She wants “an immediate, independent, effective and transparent investigation” into what was yet another attempt by apparently illegal migrants to gain access to the Spanish enclave – one of two – in North Africa.

According to a parliamentary statement, Mapisa-Nqakula, a former minister of defense and veterans, “implored” the NAM parliamentary network to “remember and pursue the cause of the Palestinian people as he did in the fight against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa”. He added that the president told delegates that the network “has an opportunity to define its purpose and mission through, among other things, interventions that would liberate the world from wars and the subjugation of nations such as Palestine and Western Sahara”.

A statement from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said that “violent incidents inflicted on migrants are increasing around the world”, adding that there is “a similar anti-migrant sentiment in South Africa”.

In addition to challenging the “very foundations of our constitutional democracy”, anti-migrant sentiment “could lead to mass violence against migrants, regardless of their status”.

Minister Pandor called on all states to commit to treating migrants and their families with their human rights under international law given what are known as “national, regional and global trends”.

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