“We owe it to” victims of genocide to speak up on Gaza – President Ramaphosa

“We owe it to” victims of genocide to speak up on Gaza – President Ramaphosa

“We owe it to” victims of genocide to speak up on Gaza – President Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa cannot stand idly by as “another genocide is carried out” in the Gaza Strip.
The President was addressing the nation through his weekly newsletter following his visit to Rwanda on the occasion of the commemoration of the Rwandan genocide.
“At the numerous Rwandan genocide 30th commemoration memorials, one finds the words ‘Never Again’. This phrase, ‘Never Again’, also appears on memorials to the Nazi holocaust, and is evoked as a reminder to the world of the horrors perpetrated by humankind and of the collective responsibility we share to ensure that this dark history does not repeat itself.
“It is because of our stated commitment to never again allow atrocities of this kind, that the world cannot stand idly by as another genocide is carried out, this time against the people of Palestine in the besieged Gaza Strip. Nobody can claim ignorance about what is happening in Gaza, because, unlike in Rwanda in 1994, these atrocities are being televised, written about, tweeted and live streamed,” the President said on Monday.
Up to now, the Israel-Palestine conflict has reportedly claimed some 32 000 Gazan lives with 13 000 of those being the lives of children.
President Ramaphosa condemned the “campaign of violence” Israel has “unleashed” on Gaza since Hamas attacked that nation.
He reflected on South Africa’s approach to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel’s actions in Gaza and noted the urgency needed to get aid into the embattled area.
“The Court directed Israel, among other things, to ensure that its military does not commit such acts, to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and to enable the provision of urgently needed basic service and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.
“In clear defiance of this legally-binding order, Israel has intensified its violence against the residents of Gaza. These people are now also facing starvation and famine as the delivery of aid continues to be disrupted, including the killing of humanitarian and aid-workers.
“Last week, the ICJ issued additional measures, ordering Israel to take the necessary and effective measures to ensure ‘unhindered provision at scale’ of basic services and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. The Court accepted South Africa’s argument that, contrary to what Israel claimed, the UN agencies are not being assisted to get aid flowing into Gaza,” he said.
Remembering Rwanda
Harking back to the Rwandan genocide, which left an estimated one million people dead, President Ramaphosa lamented that atrocities committed at the time were “allowed to happen in the face of callous indifference by the international community”.
“It was only several decades later that a number of these ‘bystanders to the genocide’ apologised for failing to act as the killings happened. As they were for the families of those who perished in the Rwandan genocide, for today’s genocide victims, apologies are too little, too late.
“It should never be, and must never be, that atrocities, gross human rights violations and genocide should somehow carry less weight because of the race, ethnicity or religious affiliation of the victims.
“We owe it to the victims of all the world’s genocides to not betray their memories by looking away, by failing to act, or worst of all, by claiming we didn’t know,” he said.
The President said South Africa’s own democracy and freedom was not won easily.
“The terrible events in Rwanda in 1994 took place in the year we as South Africans attained our freedom.
“We are ever mindful that with that freedom comes a responsibility to work for peace, justice and human rights everywhere. It is a duty and a standard we will continuously strive to uphold, not just for ourselves but for all peoples, everywhere,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews.gov.za

NeoB
Mon, 04/08/2024 – 09:17

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