22 September 2023 - NW2855
Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
(1)Whether, with reference to her reply to question 628 on 22 March 2023, BRICS member countries now have a common understanding on what (a) process potential candidates should follow to officially apply for admission to BRICS and (b) standards and criteria should be taken into account when considering potential candidates, there is a common understanding of the process; if not, what is the position in each case; if so what are the relevant details in each case; (2) noting that the Republic is party to the Johannesburg II Declaration signed at the recent BRICS Summit held on 22 to 24 August 2023, which calls for all Member States to cooperate in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect, how can she explain Republic’s support for the inclusion of Iran into BRICS as Iran has been repeatedly flagged by the United Nations for serious human rights violations, including allegations of torture, as well as sexual and gender-based violence committed against women, men and children, especially in detention?
1. Yes, a) BRICS member countries have a common understanding on what the process for a potential candidate should be as well as the standards and criteria for the inclusion of a new member. b) BRICS member countries have reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures of the BRICS expansion process which are outlined in the agreed upon BRICS Expansion document.
2. The decision to invite the six new members was a consensus driven decision and that prospective members were considered on the basis of regional strategic influence, the support for multilateralism including its reform and the commitment to sustainable development.
South Africa and Iran enjoy an historical and fraternal relationship, with both countries interacting regularly, notably through the Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC), with the 15th session of the JCC being held on 10 August 2023. This is the longest running and one of the most active structured bilateral mechanism South Africa has with any country in the Middle East Region. Through our bilateral relations and our cooperation in other multilateral fora, South Africa have continuously engaged Iran on a number of political and economic areas of cooperation, including human rights issues. For instance, South Africa as a member of the Human Rights Council, looks forward to making use of the Human Rights Dialogue Forum, to increase its bilateral cooperation on human rights issues, including constructive and meaningful dialogue, for mutual benefit with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The inclusion of Iran as a new member of BRICS will provide a new platform to further enhance these engagements in the BRICS Spirit of mutual respect and understanding