Mr Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, MP (Deputy President and Chief Whip of the United Democratic Movement) was invited to – from 6 to 8 October 2017 – participate in a Regional Meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Parliamentarians.
The meeting focussed on the use innovative means to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom and to promote democracy and human rights throughout that region (and in fact the world). There was also some focus on protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief, under the auspices of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB).
Mr Kwankwa joined a delegation in Bangkok (Thailand) comprised of various leaders of political parties, international diplomats and civil society representatives, as well as ASEAN Parliamentarians and former Parliamentarians from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
The trip included a visit to Nepal (on 9 and 10 October) with time spent on negotiating with the most senior Nepalese public representatives about their people’s civil rights and, specifically, that of freedom of religion or belief.
The various interactions with individual leaders and groups, gave Mr Kwankwa the opportunity to, not only learn from their experiences, but to also showcase the South African narrative. To advocate that: bitter adversaries can meet peacefully; to talk, but also listen; to grieve and find reason to again rejoice; to meet each other half-way and, most importantly, to continue working on sustainable democracy in South Africa.
South Africa’s model Constitution, which gives expression to, amongst others, our dignity of person; freedom of expression, association and religion; gender equality as well as press freedom, served as a prime example of what is possible in creating, fostering and protecting human rights.
Invitation to address APHR Annual Assembly
Upon his return to South African, APHR again invited Mr Kwankwa to – this time – address its Annual Assembly to be held from 25 to 26 November 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. The theme is: “The role of African Parliamentarians in creating and fostering a Human Rights Culture in Africa and the World”.
Mr Kwankwa will not only make use of this opportunity to promote the ongoing South African project (to assist in the project of creating and fostering a world-wide human rights culture) but also to build partnerships between African and ASEAN Parliamentarians, and others around the world, in building healthy, tolerant and equal societies.