This article assesses South Africa’s foreign policy commitment to human rights by studying the country’s role in the United Nations Human Rights Council, which began its work in 2006. South Africa’s behavior is evaluated in terms of its participation in four aspects of the Council’s work: the institution-building phase that took place during the body’s first year, country-specific human rights issues, thematic human rights problems, and the Universal Periodic Review. It is concluded that South Africa has become a defender of unpalatable regimes and an obstacle to the international promotion of human rights.


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