rights

Fundraising to Create Shelter for OVC

RA1SE - ONE for Good Causes will this year - along with a number of volunteers - will be raising funds for its project in Zambia, in partnership with Lusaka’s Youth Organisation for Orphans.

The project entails the construction and finishing of three houses and an administration block, a water reservoir and a farm and also intends to make the home as self-sustainable as possible, while providing opportunities for the orphans to learn new skills.

SANEF Condemns Journalist Arrest

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has expressed shock at the detention of a journalist, Sandiso Phaliso, by police in the Western Cape.

In a press statement, SANEF media freedom committee chairperson, Adriaan Basson, points out that, "This behaviour by officers of the South African Police Service is completely unacceptable."

Basson is of the view that Phaliso’s freedom of expression has been infringed by this incident, when he tried to expose officers neglecting their very basic duty of protecting communities.

Part of the Sexual Offences Act Unconstitutional

The Western Cape (WC) High Court has declared section 50(2) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (Sexual Offences Act) unconstitutional.

The applicant, who admitted to raping three minor children while he himself was still a minor, was sentenced in terms of the Child Justice Act and his name was entered into the National Register for Sexual Offenders in terms of section 50(2) of the Act.

Nigeria’s Homophobic Laws Criticised

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) urges South Africa to add its voice to calls for Nigeria to review its homophobic legislation.

SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, states that, "Since 18 January [2014], dozens of people have already been arrested in Nigeria in terms of the new law."

Mangena further adds that, the South African government should seek to exert influence over other African countries to follow good human rights practices.

Mswati Criticised Over Rights Violations

According to the 2013 Freedom House Report, Swaziland remains the last supreme autocratic monarchy on the continent and this has led to citizens facing various human rights violations under King Mswati III’s government.

The report finds that the parliamentary elections held in September 2013 have had no impact on reforming the escalating human rights and humanitarian crisis facing the country.

Mozambique Urged to Recognise LGBT

As gay Americans make headlines fighting for their marital rights, in Mozambique, and many other countries in Africa, the battle looks different and is much quieter.

Danilo Da Silva, executive director of the Mozambican Association for the Defense of Sexual Minorities (LAMBDA), points out that, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is afraid of losing the people they love, of being rejected and being an outcast.

De Klerk Not Pressured to Release Prisoners

The F.W. de Klerk Foundation has denied that former president, F.W. de Klerk, was under pressure to release all political prisoners, including the late former President, Nelson Mandela, from prison.

F.W. de Klerk Foundation, executive director, Dave Steward, who was the director-general in De Klerk's office at the time and government’s spokesperson, says De Klerk’s says the reason why government released political prisoners is because the apartheid policy had failed.

He says there would have been a catastrophe if the prisoners were not released.

Bill Raises Gay Alarm

The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill has been criticised in Parliament for not making provision for the advancement of gays and lesbians in the workplace.

This emerged on 30 January 2014 during the second day of public hearings on the bill, which is being sponsored by the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

In its submission, the Legal Resources Centre argues that the bill should not limit issues of gender equality and inequality as being issues between men and women, and girls and boys.

SA Criticises HRW Report on Policing

The Ministry of Police says the Human Rights Watch's (HRW) 2014 World Report is ‘generalising and subjective’ in its assessment of the police.

In the report, HRW says: "Serious concerns remain about the ongoing conduct and capacity of the South African Police Service, both in terms of the use of force in general, as well as the ability to deal with riots in a rights-respecting manner."

Human Rights ‘Taking a Turn for the Worst’ - NGO

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a ‘warning’ to the South African government, that human rights are ‘taking a turn for the worst’ in the country, citing attacks on the free press and escalating police violence as the main reasons for the regression.

HRW’s Southern Africa director, Tiseke Kasambala, says that while South Africa remain a ‘beacon of hope’ on the continent, its human rights legacy is gradually being eroded.

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