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Comments Off on Statement of Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) on National Women’s Day – 09/08/2017

The commemoration of this National Women’s Day coincide with a political turmoil prevailing in the country that was brought about by self-indulgence, self-interest, self-infliction and breach of constitutional and executive power by President Jacob Zuma. This has led to a vote of no confidence motioned against President Jacob Zuma on 08/08/2017. Should this vote of no confidence result in his impeachment, then the women of South Africa will remember his presidential tenure as insensitive, cruel and merciless towards women. As for the women in leadership, especially cabinet ministers and National Executive Committee of the ANC would be remembered for defending president Zuma’s malicious abuse of his executive powers, the breakdown of the rule of law, characterised by reprisals, intimidation, harassment of women human rights defender’s, death threats, mysterious killings, malicious dismissals of officials who repudiate impunity and refuse to validate corruption, breakdown of the rule of law, political intolerance and conflict, especially in the KZN Province, as well as the mysterious killings and disappearances that continued in the country with little investigation conducted to hold culprits accountable.  This horrific image of South Africa’s human rights record has attributed to the downgrading of our economic status, including increasing poverty, unemployment, health hazard, car hijacking, drug trafficking, murder of women and children. Little has been done to ensure the safety and security of women and children in our society. In March 2017 the Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Nkomo was devastated by the brutal killings across the country that had left more than 60 women murdered in 30 days. This makes South Africa a violent society despite its trong constitutional and legislative frameworks with protective mechanisms advancing women and children.

The country lacks a Woman Human Rights Defender to openly raise women issues and hold the perpetrators of women and children’s rights accountable. The religion and cultural practices still persist as barriers that subjugate women as subordinates in the society. There are laws adopted for the purpose of advancing, inequality and stereotyping of women. The Leadership Authority Act of 2003, Traditional Bill are policies that contradict the constitutional values, including regional and international mechanisms acceded to for protecting women from being subjected to subservience at traditional level. There are women leaders who support cultural practices that violate women and human dignity of young girls’. The practice of virginity testing, promoted for awarding scholarship to young girls is not only a violation of the constitution, but it is a regression of a societal fabric. This situation attributes to teenage pregnancy, school dropouts, forced marriages, child marriages and abductions in our communities.  Health is also an issue that affect women and young girls, especially HIV/AIDs affects young women of between 15years-25 years old. South Africa has the highest HIV statistics in SADC region mostly affecting women.  While the concept of blessers is endemic countrywide and need interaction from state collaboration with civil society and private sector.

Sexual violence, including rape is as high like a country in war and like DRC, a country described as the capital of rape. The aged are targeted as prey, they are not safe in their homes or public places. They are robbed of their pension fund and live in fear of victimisation as some are murdered because communities allege them for witchcraft.  Children with disability experience incestuous relationships from their fathers. The police are doing little to hold responsible culprits accountable. While women are losing confidence in the law enforcement and the justice system, reporting of sexual offences has deteriorated. A number of CSOs have reported that three in five south women have experienced rape in their life time. It is still reported that only one rape cases are reported out of 9 rape cases. It is still reported that in every 26 seconds a woman is raped in South Africa. All these reports have gone into deaf ears, with little done by police to apprehend perpetrators. The Minister of Police has condemned violence against women and children, but this will not make perpetrators of this crime repent from their evil acts, but a well-trained police, equipped with professional skills to conduct investigations that result in holding perpetrators accountable.

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has called South Africa to protect the LGBTI communities, including protecting the girl child from contacting HIV, development of policies that gives consistent age of a child.

While the Human Rights Council has passed over 250 recommendations on South Africa disturbing high levels of sexual violence.  HURISA is calling on South Africa to end the rhetoric on the scourge face by women and children, but to be more serious in developing timeframes for ending the scourge, including coming up with concrete strategies to curb the violence on a short term, medium term and long term basis.

HURISA is calling all women in leadership, including cabinet ministers, political parties not to allow policies, administrative practices that undermine the spirit, purport of the constitutional and legislative policies that promotes protection of women and children in the country. They should ensure full support of functioning of the South African Commission on Gender Equality and Department of Women to run sustainable programmes for women and children in the country, including reaching women and children in living in rural communities.

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Comments Off on #YahyaMustGo: Statement calling for Solidarity with the People of The Gambia

For Immediate Release: 19 January, 2017

 Today’s deadline for Jammeh Yahya to step down as president of the Gambia has been characterized by Yahya’s recalcitrant refusal to stand aside and allow the will of the Gambian people to be respected.

As civil society organisations, we are raising our voices in solidarity with the people of the Gambia who have since the 1994 military coup, which brought Jammeh to power, endured decades of dictatorship and systematic human rights violations under his rule, in particular stifling of freedom of expression, association and assembly. Journalist, human rights defenders and activists in the Gambia have continued to operate in hostile conditions, have been threatened by reprisals, abductions and experienced other gross human rights violations. Over the years under the Jammeh regime, there has been much outcry from the people of the Gambia for the world to pay attention to the various atrocities inflicted on them.

The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the apex regional human rights body of the continent, is located in the Gambia. It is a key human rights vehicle which ought to promote and protect human rights. Despite its close links to the country, the African Commission has over the years been very lenient in holding Yahya accountable for his authoritarian rule.

We have recently learnt that the Secretariat has been temporarily moved to Senegal in light of the political tensions in the country. More than thirty thousand civilians have also left the country. We must be reminded that, at the centre of conflict, women and children tend to be victims of numerous human rights violations; and that displacement further exacerbates their vulnerability. The repercussions of war are far reaching for many and the difficulty of sustaining peace post conflict can be overwhelming.

We call on the African Union to use mechanisms to address these types of situation. For example, the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance has been breached given the current situation. Article 23(4) applies here – Jammeh’s refusal to relinquish power constitutes a breach of the Charter, therefore appropriate sanctions must be imposed on him. We call on the African Union to put its weight towards the volatile Gambian situation in realisation of this article.

Furthermore, the AU Peace and Security Council will be presenting a State of Peace and Security Activity Report in Africa tomorrow. We are calling for this meeting to make sure that the state of the Gambia is put on the agenda and a resolution is adopted in this regard, ensuring that Yahya steps down. Being mindful of the fact that Africa is working towards silencing the guns, peaceful solutions should be explored outside of military interventions.  Africa must step forward and actualise solutions befitting African problems.

The people of the Gambia have lived under Yahya Jammeh’s authoritarian rule for two decades, and have done so peacefully. Now, they have now spoken. Jammeh must respect their voice.

We applaud Botswana for announcing that it no longer recognises Jammeh as president of the Gambia; and we urge all AU member states to do the same; and also to recognise Adama Barrow as the President of the Gambia as soon as he has been sworn in.

We remain in solidarity with the people of the Gambian people, in their quest to have their democracy respected without the need for resorting to preventable violence.

Statement prepared by the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (CHR-UP), Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) and supported by CIVICUS.

Comments Off on Commemoration of Youth Day- 16 June 2016

Press statement for immediate release

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) is honoured to join the people of South Africa to commemorate this day. HURISA salutes the heroes and herons of the June 16, 1976 for their sacrifices and bravery in helping the country to overcome the repressive and dehumanising apartheid system. It is through their bravery that we are able to be a generation premised on human rights. It is this generation that inspires continuous conversations on the state of education in South Africa. While Freedom of expression, association and assembly were severely restricted in an environment hostile to opposing political views and characterised by surveillance, arbitrary arrests,  detentions in communicado and media censorship, we can look back after forty years (40yrs) of the historic events and be proud that the 1976 heroes and herons earned our democracy through an enormous struggle.

There’s has been numerous developments that has taken place to guarantee basic fundamental human rights in South Africa. These include civil political, economic asocial and cultural rights imperatives embodied within regional and international commitments that accompany the Constitutional provisions. However the youth continue to experience difficulties in enjoying the fruit of our democracy. As the country faces political intolerance and economic challenges, they remain on the receiving end of these socio economic difficulties. The levels of youth unemployment is highest including poverty. The opportunity to use their potential as a striving future generation is negatively affected by the lack of access to quality and affordable education, access to health care, they also live in environments that are harmful to their well-being. For example the proliferation of drugs in communities, especially in disadvantaged townships and substance abuse is negatively impacting on the future generation as many young people get entangled in crime syndicates like, drug trafficking, car hijacking, robbery, assaults, rape among others. The situation also leads to high rates of teenage pregnancy which has been described by the Minister of Health as worrying in the way it affects education and development of young girls.

This youth day coincides with other important strides advancing youth development and empowerment, such as the 20th Anniversary of South Africa Constitution, 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the African Youth Charter, the 30th Anniversary of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. These milestone achievements calls for reflection on progress made to improve the lives and livelihoods of the youth in South Africa. The African Youth Charter provides an avenue to address all challenges faced by the Youth nationally and continentally. Although South Africa has developed a national youth policy, the involvement of youth in public participation and decision making remain critical. The African Youth Charter is the only human rights instrument that speaks to youth issues and such requires popularisation and domestication to enhance youth participation in legal, socio political affairs. The education curricular should incorporate provisions of the AYC to assist educators, school governance and communities to the development of the youth. The youth should be capacitated to contribute effectively toward preferring solutions to the problems that affect through the use of the AYC. Law enforcement, judiciary, parliamentarians, traditional and religious leaders should sensitised to be more proactive in ensuring youth inclusivity, participation in various decision making processes.

The role of the private sector is vital in creating employment opportunities, and provide entrepreneurships programme to reduce the high levels of unemployment. The government should continue to engage with likeminded states to secure exchange programmes, scholarships, job opportunities and taking into account of the disadvantaged youth, including people with disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and indigenous populations.

HURISA strengthens the human rights systems at national level and advocates for compliance with regional mechanisms, through a State of the Union Coalition Campaign Project.

For more information, contact Funeka Manzi, Information Officer, funeka@hurisa.org.za, 081 096 5351, Junior Sikhwivhilu, junior@hurisa.org.za, 072 040 3796

 

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Comments Off on Media statement for immediate release

Africa-Day-530x280

Commemoration of Africa Day 25 May 2016

The Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) will use this occasion to launch the Reprisal Resolution adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The Reprisals Resolution seeks to document the targeting of human rights defenders and everyone living in the country who participate in public affairs.
This year’s commemoration coincides with the African Union Theme for Human Rights with a Special Focus on Women’s Rights. It also coincides with the 10th Anniversary of the African Youth Charter. This requires a reflection on progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The event will take place at Sunnyside Park Hotel, 2 York Road, Parktown, from 17:45 – 20:00.
The speakers include Arnold Tsunga, Human Rights Defender, International Commission of Jurist; Africa Director; Aubrey Lekwane, Human Rights Defender and previously with Lawyers for Human Rights; Sheila B. Keetharuth, Human Rights Defender, Member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.
For further information please contact Funeka Manzi, Information and Advocacy Officer.
Tel: 011 492 1103
Cell: 081 096 5351
Email: funekamanzi@gmail.com / funeka@hurisa.org.za

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Comments Off on Win the chance to present at a conference in Rwanda!

2016, marks the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the African Youth Charter[1]. The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU), a coalition of African civil society organizations, seeks to commemorate the achievements and progress made since its implementation.  SOTU recognises that Africans should be given the chance to tell their story as a means of raising awareness about the realities and successes in their communities, but also to inspire future generations. Consequently, HURISA, through its SOTU programme, is committed to raising the voices, perspectives and interests of Africans to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of what human rights means in their communities. This is done through providing a platform to collate the information, ignite public debate and mobilise citizens for social action, through an interdisciplinary writing competition.

HOW TO ENTER:

Submit your original research articles, opinion pieces, essays, short stories, poetry, and any other writing, art work including pictorials that illustrate and shed light on human rights issues from an African citizen’s perspective focussing on youth.

If your submission is selected, you will be invited to film yourself doing a short presentation of you piece. after which the winner will be selected.

The top 5 entrants will get to travel to Rwanda to present their piece at the Continental Youth Forum, which will bring together over 500 participants from the continent for a commemorative celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the African Youth Charter.

All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by HURISA.

The top 20 shortlisted entries will be included in a publication to be printed and distributed by HURISA.

TOPICS:

Entries should address issues around Human Rights and Youth, which can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Freedom of expression, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Association.
  • Student Movements
  • Gender Equality
  • Constitution, Democracy and Elections
  • Pan-Africanism
  • Poverty and Inequality i.e. Youth unemployment, Skills development
  • Education

GUIDELINES:

Poetry/Creative non-fiction (true stories) 80 lines max for poems and 2,000 words max for true stories which reflect life in Africa and/or the theme of human rights.

Academic articles should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words, including footnotes and should present original findings, analysis and arguments.

Essays and Short Stories should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words including all footnotes.

Opinion Articles should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words and offer a more reflective and opinionated piece.

ENTRY DETAILS AND DEADLINE:

Send your entries via email by 23 May 2016 to competition@hurisa.org.za

Must be between the ages of 18-35

Must have valid SA passport.

Must be South African Citizen with valid passport at time of submission

The subject line of email should read “Call for Papers – 10th Anniversary AYC” with the entry attached. All entries should be written in English.

Type: Microsoft WORD (.doc, .docx) or Open Document Text (.odt)

Font: Arial

Size: 11

Line spacing: Single

Justification: left

Provide Key words or tags: 5-10

Bio: 200 word author bio descriptive written in third person

Email address and Telephone number

Bio picture: passport-size photo in 300 dpi jpeg

Personal information: Full names; Nationality; Country of residence; Age; Gender, Vocation/Profession

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

HURISA editorial policy avoids commitment to any political viewpoint or ideology, and commits to fair examination of thematic issues that may draw controversy to promote a deeper understanding of the state of human rights in Africa, compliance to AU instruments by African governments today and how this can be improved across the continent for the ultimate benefit of African citizens.

The decisions of the editorial committee are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Articles, essays and short notes will be blind peer-reviewed and feedback provided to the contributors via email to improve the contribution. All submissions will undergo editorial review for language, brevity and in accordance with house style. HURISA reserves the right to determine the number of abstracts accepted in any of the categories.

Submissions must be original work and contributors must own all rights. The submissions must not have been previously published elsewhere. If photos, images or illustrations are submitted to complement the piece then it is the responsibility of the writer to ensure that s/he makes appropriate attribution and does not infringe on the privacy rights or any other rights of any person. Each contributor retains copyright in their respective pieces. However, each contributor grants HURISA first publication and licence to feature the entire contribution in any and all publicity. We will credit the contributor but will not seek permission to reuse a piece after first accepting and receiving it.

HURISA will facilitate the printing, coding, launch, and dissemination of the publication in line with the HURISA Communication and Research Dissemination strategies.

Links:

  1. African Youth charter
  2. Agenda 2063

 

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Comments Off on HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE OF SOUTH AFRICA (HURISA) STATEMENT OBSERVING FREEDOM DAY ON SA FREEDOM MONTH: 27TH APRIL 2016

South Africa celebrated the 2016 Freedom Day in an entirely different atmosphere from previous celebrations. South Africa celebrates Freedom Day each year on 27th April, marking the anniversary of the day in 1994, when the country held its first ever all-race, democratic election. The 2016 Freedom Day was however markedly different – this difference is perhaps best captured by a media article titled: Fractured SA celebrates Freedom Day. The article reports that as President Jacob Zuma led the official State celebrations in Giyani, Limpopo Province, in other parts of the country, civil society and non-governmental organisations marched against the president, calling for him to step down in the wake of last month’s Constitutional Court ruling.

 

This latest constitutional court ruling appears to be the spark that has finally awoken in the nation, the need to honestly reflect on the trajectory that the country is taking, under the current regime.

 

As expected, civil society and the media have been vocal, unrelenting and scathing in their assessment of the moral and ethical trajectory of the nation. Speaking from a human rights perspective, civil society and the media have particularly expressed concern regarding a developing culture of impunity, where State machinery is deployed to intimidate activists and to silence voices calling for eradication of corruption from the fabric of our society, equality before the law, efficiency in service delivery, better management of State resources and respect for human rights, among others.

 

Indeed this emerging predatory instinct by the State, where it so readily reacts to criticism by lashing out at “perceived enemies” and being quick to infringe on the rights and freedoms of citizens, is a departure from the aspirations of the founding leaders of this nation, who envisioned a country founded on a number of basic principles including, but not limited to: equality before the law, respect for human rights, unhindered access to basic services as a core basis for upholding human dignity and probity in the management of public and State affairs.

 

As we reflect on our history as a country and map out an increasingly challenging road ahead, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) in upholding the aspirations of democratic South Africa’s founding leaders and the spirit of Freedom Day as a beacon to a more hopeful future, calls on the Government of South Africa to:

  • Submit to the Constitution as the highest law of the land.
  • Display a leadership that demonstrates respect for the rule of law, human rights and probity.
  • Respect the judiciary and national institutions accorded constitutional and legislative mandates to fulfil, promote, protect, respect their functions independently without fear, favour, prejudice or bias.
  • Promote the constitution and domestic law, including upholding domestic human rights principles at international and regional foras, including ending voting against UN resolutions that promote and protect human rights defenders.
  • Ensure that the legislature co-exists in a mutually respectful and complimentary manner with other arms of Government, as it retains its central role in a functional checks and balance system between the three arms of Government.
  • Ensure that the right to information, freedom of expression, association and assembly remain safeguarded as constitutional sacred fundamental rights and remove any laws, policies and bureaucracy that may seek to stifle, impede or suppress the utmost fulfillment of these rights and freedoms.
  • Ratify, domesticate and implement international and regional instruments that promote the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially the vulnerable members of society and minority groups.
  • Sustain adequate service delivery in provision of basic infrastructure, housing, healthcare, water and sanitation, security, education, paying particular attention to rural and deprived areas such as informal settlements.
  • Address arising service delivery challenges such as breakdowns and backlogs timeously.
  • Address social ills such as corruption, violence against women, children and generally the vulnerable individuals and groups within society
  • Address the root cause(s) of the pervasive inequity that is apparent in the South African society, as well as its manifestation such as poverty, high crime levels,
  • End persecution of state officials that uphold the constitution, legal framework, rule of law, justice and human rights
  • Protect law abiding citizens who cooperate with international and regional human rights bodies, particularly, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and implement reprisals and resolution passed by these bodies.
  • Consider drafting of new legislation to promote and protect human rights defenders in the country, regionally and internationally.
  • Seek technical support from ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa who developed a report on the situation of freedom of association in Africa and a report on the situation of women human rights defenders in Africa. The Special Rapporteur is currently developing a model law on freedom of assembly for improved implementation of freedom of assembly in Africa.
  • Seek technical support from the ACHPR Chairperson and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa. The Special Rapporteur has developed a model law on the right to information in Africa which will benefit South Africa in dealing with right to information and freedom of expression.
  • Observe and implement the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance during the upcoming Local Government Elections.

 

Contact:

 

For further information or clarification relating to this statement, kindly contact:

 

John Mang’ana: john@hurisa.org.za or Junior Sikhwivhilu: junior@hurisa.org.za

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State of the Union Project Intern

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Human Rights Institute of South Africa

DIRECTORATE: State of the Union

Position: State of the Union Project Intern

Location: Johannesburg Duration:

Fixed Term Contract 6 months
The State of the union Coalition was formed in 2009 by Civil Society Organizations in ten countries. It is a unique multi-sectoral monitoring group that is holding African Governments accountable for the ratification and implementation of African Union decisions. The coalition seeks to do this through Informing and empowering Citizens to act to claim key rights and freedoms; Influencing the African Union and African States to ratify, popularise and implement key standards, and through building inclusive continental and national platforms.

Purpose of the Role:

  • To provide support to the administration, co-ordination and project management of the State of the Union project. Key responsibilities include but not limited to:
    Assist project officer with reporting, following reporting guidelines of the project
  •  Work with Programs Manager to identify and secure venues for training, meetings and associated program activities;
  •  Assist in the preparation for workshops / community engagement meetings;
  •  Liaise with diverse stakeholders (youth participants, schools, community groups, donors, various spheres of government and other NGOs);
  • Assist with monitoring and evaluation of programmes and compilation of reports

Desired Skills & Experience The successful candidate will have: A degree in International Relations, development studies, political studies, social development studies, demography and Population studies or related field from a nationally / internationally recognised university would be an advantage.

  •  Strong administration experience.
  • Basic project management experience
  • Experience with research and writing
  •  Well organized and able to apply skills to large amounts of information.
  •  Excellent people skills working across different levels and cultures
  •  Has experience of working to deadlines and the ability to prioritise and manage own workload.
  • A proactive approach to duties, continually looking at ways to improve processes.
  •  Good communication skills. Fluent spoken and written English. Good interpersonal skills.
  •  Good administration, planning and project management skills.
  •  Proficiency in local languages will be an added advantage

 

Application Procedures
Applications should be sent with your CV, motivation cover letter by no later than 24th February 2016. You are requested to highlight in the motivation letter how specifically you meet the criteria for this role. To: jobs@hurisa.org.za

Due to high volumes of applications received, short listed applicants will be contacted going forward. Should you not have received feedback on your application within two weeks of the closing date, please consider your application unsuccessful. HURISA will not consider candidates from recruitment agencies. and reserves the right to withdraw any of our vacancies at any time.

HURISA promotes diversity and welcomes applications from all sections of the community especially females.

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Comments Off on Press release on the suspension of ten (10) non-governmental organizations in Burundi

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Ms. Reine Alapini-Gansou, expresses her deep concern at the suspension of ten (10) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the Government of Burundi.

According to information we received, on 23 November 2015, the Minister of Interior of Burundi issued decree nr. 530/1597 suspending ten (10) NGOs working for the protection of human rights.

We have been informed that this suspension is related to an investigation on allegations of inciting violence during Burundi’s recent periods of instability.

We are concerned about the negative consequences that could arise from this decision to suspend Forum pour le Renforcement de la Societé Civile (FORSC), Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE), Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la torture (ACAT), Association pour la protection des personnes détenues et les droits de l’homme (APRODH), Parole et Action pour le Réveil des Consciences et l’Evolution des Mentalités (PARCEM), Amicale des Militaires en Non Activité (AMINA), Fontaine Isoko de la Bonne Governance pour un Développement Integré (FONTAINE-ISOKO), Synergie des Partenaires pour la Promotion des Droits de la Femme (SPPDF), Réseau des Citoyens Probes (RCP) and Association Maison Shalom (Maison Shalom). We are further concerned by the continued allegations of harassments against human rights defenders by the Burundian security forces.

The Special Rapporteur notes that all ten (10) human rights organizations are well-known groups, and a number of them, such as APRODH are led by renowned human rights defenders such as Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who survived an assassination attempt in August 2015 and the killing of two family members in retaliation for his work as a human rights defender.

The Special Rapporteur condemns such practices which clearly constitute violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and reminds the Government of Burundi of its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Grand Bay and Kigali declarations, as well as other international legal instruments ratified by the Republic of Burundi.

The Special Rapporteur calls upon the State of Burundi to:

  •    Rescind the ministerial decree 530/1597 and abandon proceedings against the ten (10) non-governmental organizations in order to enable them to work freely;
  •   Take measures to put an immediate end to the intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders in Burundi.

 

Done in Banjul, on 1 December 2015

Ms. Reine Alapini-Gansou

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa

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PRESS STATEMENT

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For immediate release

[Please share with your civil society and media networks, and email to SADC heads of state]

Issued by:        The Coalition for an Effective SADC Tribunal

Date:               14 August 2015

On the eve of the SADC Heads of State Summit on Sunday 16th August the Coalition for an effective SADC Tribunal calls on heads of state to uphold the rule of law and human rights in the region by reinstating the SADC Tribunal.

In August 2014, contrary to the SADC Treaty of which Article 23 provides that decisions concerning the community and any affected persons or citizens, must be made in consultation with them, the SADC Heads of State adopted a new Protocol on the SADC Tribunal, without any consultation. The SADC did not act in accordance with its own Treaty’s amendment procedures. As such the suspension lacks legality, “inter alia” because the SADC Treaty does not allow for suspension.

The new Protocol removes access to the Tribunal by individuals and legal persons, and removes its human rights mandate. To date the Protocol has been signed by nine member states, but will enter into force thirty days after ten countries have ratified it. It is not yet clear as to whether any country has actually ratified the Protocol through their national parliaments.

The Coalition for an effective SADC Tribunal is committed to championing efforts and advocacy to reinstate the Tribunal as it affects every single citizen and person in the region. The reinstatement would provide legal recourse to people seeking justice once they have exhausted existing legal remedies at the national level.

The disbandment of the old Tribunal and the adoption of the new Protocol effectively disregards the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers and the rule of law. It also impacts negatively on human rights and business confidence across the region.

We urge each SADC head of state to consider the merits of the SADC Tribunal in its original form and the positive impact it will have in the region – socially, economically and in terms of international best practice.

Coalition partners supporting this call include:

NGO Policy Forum – Tanzania

Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) – South Africa

Council of Churches – Swaziland

Centre for Mozambican and International Studies (CEMO) – Mozambique

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) – South Africa

Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) – Lesotho

Association for Justice Peace and Democracy (AJPD) – Angola

Media Institute of Southern Africa MISA – Regional

Tanganyika Law Society – Tanzania

Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria – South Africa

SADC Lawyers’ Association – Regional

Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) – Regional

SADC CNGO Forum – Regional

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition – Zimbabwe

Citizen Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) – Seychelles

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) – Malawi

Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) – Regional

African Centre for Justice Innovation –  Regional

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) –  Global

 

For more information please contact:

Muluka Miti-Drummond <mulukam@salc.org.za>

Dorothy Brislin <dorothyb@osisa.org>

 

Call to action:

Support the petition to reinstate the SADC Tribunal at the link https://www.change.org/p/sadc-heads-of-state-and-government-don-t-deprive-me-of-my-right-to-take-leaders-of-southern-africa-to-court

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EENA: national consultation Invite

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EENA: national consultation

Date 10 June 2015

Speakers include Retired Judge, Richard Goldstone , Former Constitutional Court Judge, 1st Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda: The CSO environment before 1994, Advocate Tsheliso Tshipyane, Former CEO SARHC, and project lead researcher Kimani Ndungu presenting the findings of EENA research project.

Venue : Nelson Mandela Foundation, 107 Central Street, Houghton, 2198

Time 09:00- 16:00

RSVP: Julia Seleka : julia@hurisa.org.za,

CC:Junior Sikhwivhilu : junior@hurisa.org.za

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Media Statement

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Media Statement

22 January 2015

 

HER VOICE, HER PEACE, SHE MATTERS: GLOBAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED IN ETHIOPIA, ADDIS ABABA AS PART OF THE 24TH AFRICAN UNION CIVIL SOCIETY PRE- SUMMIT, 22-31 JANUARY 2015


Attention: Editors, Reporters and Producers

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), Southern Africa Liaison Office (SALO) and Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) launched the Continental and Global media Campaign in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa on Tuesday, the 20 January 2015 under the theme’ Her Voice, Her Peace, She matters.

This continental and global campaign is informed and guided by the African Union theme for 2015 which has been declared as the “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063: What is the Change We Want to See?” and the fifteenth anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, and the finalization of deliberations on the Post-2015 Agenda.

As Human rights organisations based in South Africa and having impact on the African Continent and the World, We call upon all Africans and like-minded Human rights organisations across South Africa and Africa to add their voices and to enable African women’s voices that are seldom heard in the corridors and in the conference rooms of decision-makers, where the very same women’s lives and future are decided.

These same African women, so long as they are not participating in economics, political life and socio- cultural life experiences due to being refugees, undocumented or stateless, child-soldiers,  and victims of sexual violence during war times, will rarely have the opportunity to determine and vocalise their own needs to those who make decisions of their lives.

Her voice, her peace, she matters media campaign in simple human rights language means:

Her voice is essential within the halls and corridors of decision making as she knows best what will enable her to have her basic rights and dignity;

Her peace is fundamentally for her to be a person living free and safe to participate and make sound decision for herself and

She matters because without her participation and development, the African continent shall not develop or prosper.

Issued by HURISA, CSVR, POWA, SALO AND SGJ

 

For media interviews in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa Kindly liase with  Sufiya and Litlhare Rabele : 00251 9325 15958 or 002511927941163

 

Social medial links:

@whyshematters: kindly tweet- while you make decisions on peace and security, remember- Africa women’s and girls’ lives matter

Facebook page: her voice her peace she matters

Weblog: www.hervoiceherpeaceshematters.org (for pictures and speeches of the global media campaign)

 

Notes and facts for editors, reporters and producers to consider:

 

  1. African women and girls comprise about half of any refugee IDP or stateless population and are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation;
  1. African women and girls constitute the majority of vulnerable people on the continent, from domestic violence to lack of access to basic reproductive health rights not to mention customary social norms that tend to marginalise or exclude women from active participation in political or economic environments;
  1. Glaring number of conflicts on the African continent  coupled with women’s bodies and the assumed gendered roles they are kept in means that millions of women across the continent face extra-ordinary abuses such as being forced into slavery and exploitative conditions such as war wives and alongside their male counterparts child soldiers;
  1. African women and girl child, who experience war, suffer the traumas of war both physically and emotionally and cannot be expected to participate fully in political, economic and cultural life;
  1. The recently publicized abductions of the girls by Boko Haram in protest of women being educated and forced them into war, turning them into suicide bombers, is evidenced of rising cultural and religious fundamentalism that is sweeping the African Continent;
  1. So long as there are conflicts on the African soil and unresolved transitions out of conflict in communities, those who predominantly depend on , and manage community cohesion will always have interrupted development, remain marginalised, vulnerable and
  1. There is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to society where half of the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt” … Women hold up the other half of the sky ( Thomas Sankara, Women’s liberation and the African freedom struggle)

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Comments Off on 1st Commemorative Anniversary of Tata’s life, 5 December 2014

As South Africa honours the first commemoration of the departure of our former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of a nation founded on human rights, equality, non-discrimination and non-sexism. We  reflect on the great contributions and commitments he has made in the struggle for liberation, peace and justice. These are indeed principles he has taught to us and the rest of the world at large, which is the greatest legacy he has left behind.

On the 5th of December 2013, when the whole world learnt of the passing away of this giant, it was a very sad moment but also a time to celebrate his life as a world icon on human rights. Through his activism he managed to secure every South African a bright future and went on to introduce measures that ensured that we never go that pathway again. Next week Wednesday (10th December) we will be further celebrating one of Madiba’s greatest achievements as we commemorate 18 years of him signing into law the South African Constitution, which is the foundation of our hard earned democracy. As HURISA we are planning an event on that date where we mirror the icon’s role, especially as one of the important leaders who were vital in the fundraising efforts of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa in its inception phases during the early 90s. It was in 1992 when, during a visit to Norway, Mr Mandela requested assistance from the Norwegian Government for effective monitoring of politically based public violence that was threatening the transformation process from apartheid to a multiracial democracy in South Africa. This paved the way for the establishment of HURISA.  The following year in June 1993 HURISA was founded as the Institute for the Study of Public Violence and served as the research and documentation arm of the Commission of Inquiry into public violence, chaired by retired Judge Richard Goldstone. This was all made possible by the support and encouragement of President Nelson Mandela, the father of our democracy. It was in 1994 when the Goldstone Commission’s mandate ended and the name of the organisation was changed to the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA).

Right from the beginning the organisation envisaged a society in which all people are aware of their human rights, how their rights can be realised and how redress mechanisms can be accessed. To this end the organisation provides human rights education and citizen participation, primarily in South Africa, but also in the region and continent at large. HURISA now is among the leading human rights bodies in the region and implements projects and programmes designed to equip citizens with knowledge about the rights they are entitled to, as well as the importance of their participation in the social debates of the day.

Although challenges exist in our system today, we are confident of the impact Madiba has made in all South Africans. We are urging the government of the day to continue Madiba’s legacy of defending human rights and caring for the upliftment of the people through policy, values, actions and priorities. We call upon South Africans to play a role in holding our government accountable as was Mandela’s administration. We are also calling upon South Africa to have a pro-human rights approach in foreign policy as well as in regional commitments. HURISA thus avails itself, as in previous years, to partnering with different stakeholders in strengthening national as well as continental and global systems of human rights , peace and democracy.

As we celebrate 20 years of our organization’s existence, we applaud uTata Nelson Mandela for everything he has done for us during his lifetime in adding value to human’s actuality.

In our minds and those of future generations uTata will never be forgotten.

Siyakukhumbula Madiba!

Issued by: The Human Rights Institute of South Africa

Contact Mlamli and Mduduzi 011 333 1730: email mlamli@hurisa.org.za, khanyi@hurisa.org.za

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