Cii News | 09 October 2012
The newly constitute Coalition for a free Palestine (CFP) has lauded Zwelinzima Vavi, the secretary – general of South Africa’s powerful trade union federation, Cosatu, for his statement at the Russel Tribunal in New York.
“The Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP), the largest Palestinian solidarity coalition in South Africa, applauds Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi for so powerfully speaking up and out for justice and freedom for the Palestinian people at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held over the weekend in New York (October 6-7, 2012),” the statement noted.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an International People’s Tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East. Members include Nobel Prize laureates, a former United Nations Secretary-General, two former heads of state, former politician, representatives of civil society, writers, journalists, poets, actors, film directors, scientists, professors, lawyers and judges.
According to the Tribunals website, proceedings comprise a number of sessions which deal with different aspects of complicities and omissions by states, international organisations and corporations in the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel and the perpetuation of the violations of international law committed by Israel.
The CFP noted that South Africans remain grateful to the international community for their stance against apartheid and that, “Vavi sent a strong message to the Palestinian people, reminding them that the world has not forgotten them or their plight.”
“I know what life was like under a brutal regime supported by equally brutal employers whose profits depended on the creation and maintenance of slavery conditions. I know the pain of humiliation, deprivation and hunger. I have known what it is like to sleep in the open in the middle of the coldest winter night following the eviction of my parents in the farms,” Vavi said.
“I believe that whilst apartheid was atrocious beyond the description of words, the difference between South Africa and Palestine is that the latter is facing an aggressive attempt to drive all the citizens of the country into exile and take away their right to their citizenship. Today only 20% of the land that used to be in the hands of the people of Palestine remains. As we heard yesterday, Palestinians constitute the biggest group of refugees in the world, with over 6 million having been forced to flee,” he added.
Concluding the Tribunal on its fourth and final day on Monday, it declared that Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity by their complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law.
The SABC reported that the tribunal examined the role of the United Nations (UN) and the United States (US), finding that both were complicit in Israel’s ‘international wrongful acts.
*The Coalition for a Free Palestine includes youth groups, trade unions, human rights organisations, faith based groups, artists collectives, student organisations and political parties. Some member organizations include the South African Council of Churches, Congress of South African Trade Unions, African National Congress, South African Communist Party, Muslim Judicial Council, Muslim Students Association, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Palestine Solidarity Group, and the Media Review Network.
Tags: cfp, Cosatu, rtop, russel tribunal, vavi