Monthly Archives: March 2013

Comments Off on PAN AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK (PAHRD Net) STATEMENT ON BEATRICE MTETWA ARREST

18 March 2013, YAOUNDE, CAMEROON

Human rights defenders (HRDs) meeting in Cameroon at the first counterpart meeting of the PAHRD Net have learnt with shock and outrage at the arbitrary arrest and detention of Zimbabwe’s leading human rights lawyer Mrs.  Beatrice  Mtetwa by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday 17 March 2013 when she was trying to represent her client as a lawyer.

Mrs.  Mtetwa’s arrest comes in the wake of s recent spate of increases in the systematic and widespread persecution of HRDs by the ZRP. The police conduct comes as the country is finalizing the adoption of a new constitution that provides for an array of fundamental rights and freedoms as constitutionally protected. The police conduct is not in sync with the aspirations of the Zimbabwe people as expressed in the yes vote to the new constitution at the just ended referendum.

“Of particular concern to us is that Mrs. Beatrice Mtetwa as a distinguished lawyer from Southern Africa was arrested while doing her work as a lawyer. It is standard practice that lawyers should not be impeded in the conduct of their work,”  stated Corlett  Letlojane of HURISA the current advocacy focal point for PAHRD Net in Southern Africa.

The PAHRD Net salutes Mrs. Mtetwa for her steadfast stand in defending the rights of others in Zimbabwe and is convinced that her spirit cannot be broken as a result of this harsh treatment that the ZRP is meeting on her.

The PAHRD Net urges the authorities in Zimbabwe to release Mrs. Mtetwa forthwith from her detention and prosecute those elements within the police force who have abused their office to wrongfully detain her.

The recent and ongoing crackdown on civil society in Zimbabwe is a cause for great concern to the PAHRD Net.

“It sends clear and worrying signals that the impending elections in Zimbabwe are likely to be held under very difficult circumstances for HRDs and the people of Zimbabwe. It is important that the SADC mediation team under President Zuma address this issue urgently to avoid Zimbabwe having another failed election” said Hassan Shire, the President of the PAHRD Net.

Finally the PAHD Net urges the government of Zimbabwe to fully comply with its obligations for the protection of HRDs as enshrined in international instruments that Zimbabwe has signed and ratified.

Hassan Shire Chairperson-PAHRD Net on behalf of the PAHRD Network comprising the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders network, the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, the North Africa Human Rights Defenders network and the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network

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Comments Off on Zimbabwe: Illegal Arrest and Detention of Human Rights Lawyers Must Stop

FREETOWN-18.03.2013: The African Lawyers for the Defense of Civil Society Network calls for the immediate release of Beatrice Mtetwa who was unlawfully arrested and detained on the 17th March 2013 in Harare, a few hours after the constitutional referendum. She is currently still in police custody at Rhodesville police station despite a High Court order served on the police early this morning ordering for her release.

Beatrice Mtetwa was unlawfully arrested at the scene of a police raid on her client’s home after requesting for a valid search warrant and inventory list for materials that had already been removed by the police.

“We’ve observed a catalogue of failings by the state to protect human rights and the flagrant impunity of state agents continues to thrive in Zimbabwe. Human rights lawyers and defenders have sustained many attempts to curtail their rights to freedom of expression and association. It is time for the Government to reverse this retrogressive trend and make a strong commitment to respect and protect fundamental human rights, said Stephanie Muchai the Co-Chairperson of the African Lawyers for the Defense of Civil Society Network”

Mtetwa is charged with defeating and/or obstructing the course of justice under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Police handcuffed Mtetwa for protesting and proceeded to unlawfully confiscate her mobile phone containing privileged lawyer-client communication. She was held in an unmarked police vehicle whilst searches proceeded at her client’s home and office in the absence of legal representation. She was consequently detained at Rhodesville police station at 5.30pm yesterday.

Police have further refused to comply with a High Court Order for her release despite being advised that their actions are in contempt of court.

The African Lawyers for the Defense of Civil Society Network stands in solidarity with Beatrice Mtetwa, her lawyers, and others calling for a stand against the intimidation and harassment of human rights lawyers and underscores the right of these lawyers to carry out their professional duties without hindrance, vilification and degradation.

ENDS

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Please contact:

Emmanuel Saffi Abdulai, Chairperson of the African Lawyers for the Defence of Civil Society Network info@aalchambers.com; measdrb@gmail.com or call +232-33-647-456 ; +23276647456

OR

Stephanie Muchai, Co-Chairperson of the African Lawyers for the Defence of Civil Society Network, muchai@article19.org or call +254 727 862 230

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HURISA FORUM

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HURISA has just launched an online forum page on our site www.hurisa.org.za.

We will be using this platform to raise contemporary human rights issues affecting South Africa at domestic, region as well as global level. HURISA Forum online is created as a strategy for knowledge sharing to equip the public with human rights dispensation. We believe this will contribute positively to efforts aimed at building human rights culture, where better approaches are identified to deal with multifaceted challenges facing our society. Added value for   strengthened accountability across board to deepen understanding of human dignity, equality and freedom will be complementary . We therefore encourage you to log on, engage and share your views in diverse conversations. Topical issues will be lined up for your dialogue and suggestions for new  topics will is encouraged and welcome.

The first topic we have raised is: Violence against women and children– 

What causes the scourge that has made us to be

women and children suffer very high levels of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence. Violence against women and children poses a threat to their human rights. Log on and subscribe to this topic and share you view.

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Comments Off on ON 21 MARCH 2013, IT WILL BE 10 YEARS SINCE THE FINAL REPORT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC) WAS PRESENTED TO GOVERNMENT.

A decade later, however, South Africa seems in danger of forgetting the work of the TRC. Most South Africans have not seen the findings and recommendations of the Commission. Little has been done to build on the ideals that underpinned the TRC’s initial establishment and a persistent lack of political will and resolve to follow up on the recommendations made in the TRC Report in relation to reparations, prosecutions, on-going truth recovery and the accessibility of the TRC archive prevails.

To mark Human Rights Month in South Africa this year, the South African History Archive (SAHA), in conjunction with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), is launching this website on the work of the TRC, centring on the 87-part ‘Truth Commission Special Report’ television series, last broadcast 15 years ago.

Previously unavailable to most South Africans, the weekly television series has now been brought out of the archives, digitised and repackaged by SAHA, in conjunction with the SABC, to make the work of the TRC more universally accessible and to support on-going transitional justice and reconciliation work in South Africa.

All episodes of the television series have been catalogued, transcribed, indexed and linked to relevant sections of the official TRC Final Report, transcripts from TRC hearings, amnesty decisions, submissions made to the TRC  and other related resources, to form a seamless viewable and searchable resource.

This interactive tool enables users to revisit and reconsider the work of the TRC, particularly the multiple public hearings that had been intended as a mechanism for promoting national healing, the creation of new public histories, and the guarding against amnesia. To consider, 10 years after the TRC report and 15 years since the series was last broadcast, what progress has been made in the country’s difficult journey to reconciliation?

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SADC Gender Protocol Goes Through

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The SADC Secretariat announced this week that the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development has entered into force following ratification of the instrument by the requisite two-thirds of member states.

According to a communiqué issued after the annual meeting of ministers responsible for gender and women affairs in the Southern African Development Community held in Mozambique earlier in the month, ten member states have ratified the protocol.

These are Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. “The meeting applauded member states’ efforts in depositing instruments of ratification that has subsequently led to its entering into force,” said the communiqué.

The meeting re-iterated the importance of ensuring effective implementation of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. This requires the domestication of the Protocol into national law. The process of approval of a regional legal instrument requires, first, signing, and then ratification, a process that differs from country to country.

The protocol “enters into force” following ratification by two-thirds of SADC member states. This advances the regional law from being a stated intention to actual application The objectives of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development are to provide for the empowerment of women, eliminate discrimination, and achieve gender equality and equity through gender-responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects.

The targets include, among others, the achievement of 50 % representation by women and men in politics and decision-making by 2015, in line with the decision by SADC Heads of State and Government and the African Union.

The ministers also approved the proposal to develop an Addendum to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to accommodate gender and climate change. This is in response to the observation that women and children are affected disproportionately by climate change, compared to its impact on males.

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Press Statement

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ISSUED BY: CONSTITUTION HILL

ATTENTION: REPORTERS/ NEWS EDITORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05 MARCH 2013

A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women

Constitution Hill (ConHill) in Collaboration with the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) observes United Nations International Women’s Day

JOHANNESBURG, 5 MARCH 2013 – Constitution Hill and the Human Right Institute of South Africa as the pillars of Human Rights, Equality, and Constitutional Democracy in South Africa invites the media and the public to join in as we honour the United Nations International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2013, 8am- 12h30 at Constitution Hill Women’s Gaol .

While this day coincides with Human Rights month commemorations in South Africa, it perfectly fits the theme and objectives to protect and promote human rights. In joining the International community to call upon every person to commemorate this day, under the theme: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence against Women”, ConHill and HURISA will host a Women’s Rights Tour and a dialogue.

Activities for the day will start off with Chanting, Drumming and Poetic messages for the woman survivors and victims of violence in  Rissik Street, Opposite Park Station, then proceed to Constitution Hill. The dialogue will take place from 11am .

The Woman’s Gaol Museum has a rich history of women’s stories, fighting  human rights violations and the resilience to overcome atrocities of the past.

Dress Code: All Black, women to wear stockings and men ties

Parking: Underground Basement Parking Level C, Constitution Hill, Entrance at Joubert Street

Ends

 Contact Details:

Ms Petal Thring, CEO at Constitution Hill

Tel: 011 381 3102

Adv Sipho Gideon Mantula

Human Rights Institute Of South Africa ( HURISA)-

Advocacy officer

Secretariat for SOUTH AFRICA FORUM FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY (SAFIS)

Mobile: 084 781 5587

Tel: 011 333 1730

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Comments Off on Constitution Hill in Collaboration with the Human Rights Institute of South Africa observes United Nations International Women’s Day

ISSUED BY: CONSTITUTION HILL

ATTENTION: REPORTERS/ NEWS EDITORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05 MARCH 2013

Constitution Hill in Collaboration with the Human Rights Institute of South Africa observes United Nations International Women’s Day

JOHANNESBURG, 5 MARCH 2013 – Constitution Hill and the Human Right Institute of South Africa as the pillars of Human Rights, Equality, and Constitutional Democracy in South Africa invites the media and the public to join in as we honour the United Nations International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2013, 8am- 2pm at Constitution Hill Women Gaol .

While this day coincides with Human Rights month commemorations in South Africa, it perfectly fits the theme and objectives to protect and promote human rights. In joining the International community to call upon every person to commemorate this day, under the theme: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”, Constitution Hill and HURISA will host a Women’s Rights Tour and a dialogue.

Activities for the day will start off with Chanting, Drumming and Poetic messages for the woman survivors and victims of violence at to the Rissik Street, Opposite Park Station, then proceed to Constitution Hill.

The Woman’s Gaol Museum has a rich history of how women’s right have been violated and their resilience to overcome atrocities of the past.

Dress Code: All Black, women to wear stockings and men ties

Parking: Underground Basement Parking Level C, Constitution Hill, Entrance at Joubert Street

Ends

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Comments Off on Statement by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Trial and Sentencing of Twenty-Five Sahrawi Civilians by a Military Court in Morocco

The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (the Commission) is deeply concerned about the trial and sentencing of twenty-five (25) Sahrawi civilians by a military court in Rabat, Morocco from 8-16 February 2013.

The Commission is particularly concerned that the trial took place in a military court without the guarantee of an appeal process: a core element of internationally accepted safeguards of fair trial. Continue reading

The Commission reaffirms its commitment, in line with its mandate to promote and protect human rights on the African continent, to ensure that the rights of all Sahrawi, wherever they may be, are respected.

To that end, the Commission calls on the United Nations Security Council to give the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) a human rights mandate as it is the case in most UN missions.

In the same regard, the Commission recalls its Resolution ACHPR/Res.45 (XXVII) 00 on Western Sahara of 11 May 2000, and calls on the International Community to speedily resolve the question of the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi People.

Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 23 February 2013.

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Press Release

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Police brutality towards a Mozambican national is cruel, inhumane, flagrant gross violations of human rights, which is typical to the apartheid regime where police impunity enjoyed tolerance. This brutally is inhuman, degrading and breached Constitutional rights. South Africa is a state party to UN Convention on Torture and is obliged to adhere to the African Charter on Human and People’ Rights and to resolutions calling the state to prosecute suspects of xenophobia and murder of non-nationals. Continue reading

The government is also obliged to pass legislation to hold perpetrators of torture accountable. The delay in passing this bill is caused by attempts to exempt police from liability and Parliament need to ensure passing of this law without further delay. In 2012 the African Commission Committee on Torture was here in South Africa commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Robben Island Guidelines adopted in 2002 in Capetown to curb torture. HURISA is calling Minister Nathi Mthetwa and National Commissioner Riah Phiyega:

  • To condemn this rampant impunity and brutal murder to anyone in the country regardless of nationality, background or race.
  • To press charges against responsible culprits and dismiss all without any delay. Shame on them for bringing the name of the SAPS and image of the country into disrepute.

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