Briefing Paper

South Africa’s Foreign Policy under the Zuma Government: A Human Rights-based Policy or a Pragmatic Approach Based on Political and Economic Considerations?

“Since 1994 human rights have emerged as a central pillar of South Africa’s international relations. This paper explores the genesis of a human rights-based approach to foreign policy and international relations globally under the Mandela government, where the role and status of human rights and democracy were pivotal to South Africa’s international relations. The next section moves on to an analysis of how these principles and values were applied under Mbeki’s government. This is followed by an examination of the role and status of human rights in South Africa’s international relations under the Zuma administration including challenges and concerns in this regard. The assessment concludes with a few recommendations on how best to ensure that human rights play a central role in South Africa’s foreign policy and its international