The Chief Directorate: International Legal Relations is
involved in direct liaison and negotiations at administrative and technical
level with foreign states to promote international legal co-operation,
and for the possible conclusion of extradition and mutual legal-assistance
chief directorate also aims to establish greater uniformity between the
legal systems of southern African states, especially with the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).
The chief directorate co-ordinates human-rights issues
at international level under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) and
the African Union (AU).
National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)
The Republic of South Africa signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) on 20 September 2006 and ratified it on 20 June 2019. Under Article 28 (2), the OPCAT came into force for South Africa on 20 July 2019.
Under the OPCAT, South Africa must establish, maintain or designate a NPM to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, among others, through regular visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The NPM was launched on 19 July 2019, at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. It has now been over a year since the launch of the NPM. Read the inaugural report of the NPM, Report of the South African Human Rights Commission on the implementation of the OPCAT in South Africa 2019/20.
Acceded to the United Nations International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in Oct 2012.
Cabinet approved in October 2012 that Parliament be approached to accede
to the ICESCR ( a process is uderway to approach Parliament for accession
to this instrument). The ICESCR is a Convention
which seeks to protect and promote basic socio-economic rights such
as the rights to food, housing, health care, education, land, water,
social security and many others. These rights are complemented by the
Millennium Development Goals(MDGs)in that they seek to promote and
improve the basic living standards and conditions of peoples of the
world as is the case with the MDGs. [13 Feb '13]
Submitted our Country Report to the Universal Periodic Review
(UPR) in Sep 2012. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process
which involves a review of the human rights records of all one-hundred
and ninety-two (192) UN Member States once every four years. This is
a mechanism which tests the fulfilment by each State of its human rights
The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention
Against Torture and Other cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment and
or Punishment (OPCAT).