Naledi Pandor DIRCO Thailand

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor. Photo: Dirco / TW

Pandor DEFENDS SA abstaining from UN vote on Russia

South Africa was one of 58 countries which abstained from voting to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council

Naledi Pandor DIRCO Thailand

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor. Photo: Dirco / TW

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has responded to backlash government has once again received for deciding to sit out another United Nations’ vote on Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

South Africa was one of 58 member states which abstained from the latest vote, held on Thursday, 7 April 2022 – 93 countries voted in favour of suspending Russia from the UNHRC, while 24 were against. There are 193 member states in the UN General Assembly. Other nations which did not vote include India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Iran, Maldives, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

It has been more than a month since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an offensive on neighbouring Ukraine, sending hundreds of thousands of troops to attack key structures. The situation has evolved into a humanitarian crisis as more than 3.5 million people were forced to flee their homes for neighbouring countries. There is now more outrage as shocking images have been doing the rounds on social media, showing the bodies of Ukrainian civilians believed to have been killed by Russian troops, in and around the capital Kyiv.


During a media briefing on Friday, Naledi Pandor said the South African government will not be told how to vote. This is the third time SA has not supported a UN resolution targeting Russia for the attacks in Ukraine.

“We are clear that we adopt and independent view on how we vote. We cannot be directed by anyone as to how we should vote on behalf of South Africa,” Pandor said.

The minister has reiterated government’s call for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, with the aim to put an end to the conflict.

“We have said that we believe the aggressive discourse, the name calling and use of the General Assembly for passing resolutions that add further criticism doesn’t add to the resolution of the problem. It’s not assisting, it is expanding the range of hate and conflict that we are observing from afar,” Pandor also said.

“We have also decried the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from the ongoing military operations and called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population which, as usual, bears the brunt of the suffering when violent confrontation breaks out.”

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor