Viral Revolutions, Discontent and Moral High Grounds

There is no doubt that the level of discontent around the world is rising to dangerous levels. Maybe that is what their leaders think, but it is clear, to use a contemporary term, revolution has gone viral. Not only are social networking and cellphone technology helping ordinary people, especially the youth, to arrange and coordinate protest movements and events, but these same technologies are spreading the word about what is happening in country after country. And discontent in one place tends to inspire discontent elsewhere.

International NGO Slams Mutharika’s Remarks

An international human rights body, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OBS), has condemned remarks by Malawi President, Bingu wa Mutharika, that a group of 15 people was roaming in Europe to dent the record of Malawi.
The OBS has also condemned Mutharika for saying he is waiting for the rights activists to return home.
The President is also condemned for saying that NGOs are working against national interests by informing the international community on human rights abuses in Malawi.

Social Accountability - A Key Element of Effective Service Delivery

The state is responsible for delivering services to realise the rights of its people. Service delivery is conducted through a public resource management framework, which consists of five processes that include resource planning and allocation, expenditure tracking, performance management, public integrity and oversight. Because the state is duty-bound to facilitate the realisation of people’s rights progressively within its available resources, any wastage or inefficient use or management of public resources should be viewed as a violation of people’s rights.

Govt to Fix Children’s Rights Issues

The Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Lulama Xingwana, says problems limiting children's rights need to be addressed.

Speaking at a South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) workshop on ‘Equity in the Realisation of Children's Rights in South Africa’, Xingwana pointed out that, “We acknowledge the historical challenges that still limit progress in attainment of these rights.”

Xingwana said government programmes to improve children's rights will be developed based on this report and other reports.

HRW: Moroccan Demonstrations Peaceful

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Moroccan authorities allowed peaceful, pro-reform demonstrations to take place in cities across the country.

Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, points out that the country’s authorities respected the right of citizens to assemble and protest peacefully.
Whitson states that, "The stance toward peaceful protesters we saw on that day should be the rule."

Orange Farm is No Place Without Development When One Person Enjoys Human Rights and Access to Justice While the Majority of the People Suffer

The Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre is an NPO institution located 40 kilometres south of Johannesburg. It held a workshop on Access to Justice and Promotion of Constitutional Rights to mark the celebration of the Human Rights Day. There were over sixty community members who attended the workshop and all they wanted to focus on was the abject poverty in their community. People living in the area have yet to enjoy peace and development in the new South Africa.

MPs Endorse Refugee Amendment Bill

The Refugee Amendment Bill, which is expected to streamline the application process for those seeking asylum, has received a majority endorsement from members of parliament (MPs).

Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, points out that it is pleasing that this Bill, which seeks to streamline the application process for genuine asylum seekers, has received the majority endorsement from MPs.

Dlamini-Zuma argues that the current legislation is being amended to so that those who are genuinely seeking asylum are not subjected to long protracted processes.

African Ombudsman Research Centre Alunched

President Jacob Zuma has launched the African Ombudsman Research Centre in Durban.

Zuma noted that ombudspersons have an important role to play in entrenching a culture of accountable governance and in strengthening democratic institutions in the continent.

He emphasised the need to encourage countries that have not established these important institutions to do so, adding that the role of these institutions is to serve as an avenue through which citizens exercise their rights and hold their governments accountable.

UNHCR Slams Bahrain Hospital Army Takeover

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has slammed security forces' takeover of Bahrain hospitals and medical facilities as ‘a blatant violation of international law’.

In a press statement, UNHCR commissioner, Navi Pillay, says she is ‘deeply’ alarmed by the escalation of violence by security forces in Bahrain, in particular the reported takeover of hospitals and medical centres in the country.

Call to End Torture Against NGO Leader

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has expressed concern about the ongoing acts of harassment and intimidation against the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in Zimbabwe executive director, Abel Chikomo.

The organisation points out that over the last months, Chikomo has been interrogated and asked to report to the police on several occasions.


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