Tag Archives: human rights

Deals at high levels that don’t deliver for the people

By Donné Cameron This is turning out to be a big week of big deals; first Greece, now Iran and very soon Addis. I am writing from within a bubble, albeit a loud bubble, of bureaucracy in the middle of downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the UN has chosen to host people to talk about…

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Fighting TB with prisoners’ rights

By Annabel Raw Today is World Tuberculosis Day, commemorating the discovery of the cause of the disease in 1882. Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient disease with traces in human remains being recorded since antiquity. Despite advances in public health and treatment, today TB continues to claim over one and a half million lives every year,…

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What ‘war’ means today

When picking up Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Multitude – War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin, 2006), again, in the light of recent developments across the globe involving Syria, Isis, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda (to mention only some of the names associated with war), I was struck, anew, by their astute identification…

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Human rights and desire: The need for a clear conscience

We live in the age of the unquestioned assumption of human rights — that is, the assumption that all human beings are entitled to certain “basic human rights”. This is accepted as normal, or setting the norm, and this is unquestionably correct, at least in the sense of being an accepted convention. However, the discipline…

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Global freedom in retreat?

Following the collapse of communism, Francis Fukuyama famously asserted that humankind was on the threshold of “the end of history”. By this, he meant that humanity’s sociocultural evolution was poised to resolve itself in a general acceptance of the principles of Western liberal democracy as the basis of government. This he spelled out in his…

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SA’s failures in the international human-rights system

South Africa is increasingly failing to report to the UN international treaty monitoring bodies, prompting the UN Human Rights Committee to take the exceptional measure of reviewing South Africa in respect of its performance under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) without receiving an input from the government. It has not submitted…

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Why ‘freedom’ sells

Having lived in China for seven years I have my own kind of sorrow, mixed with the tenderness of memory when I see a small Christian community deep inside China harassed for their faith. The leader, pastor Zhang, was imprisoned for 12 years and his family was in danger of losing their lives before making…

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Can SA, India and Brazil reboot the global human-rights narrative?

There is a pressing need for southern democracies to reclaim the human-rights narrative from the strategic imperatives of traditionally powerful western governments. While the ability of India, Brazil and South Africa to emerge as moral voices from the south is not in doubt, their willingness to take the global centre-stage on human rights is certainly…

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Voices from Kagiso: Community says Mintails’ suspension is a smokescreen

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has suspended Australian mining company Mintails’ operations in Kagiso on the west rand after community members embarked on protests citing serious environmental, safety and health violations and structural damage to their houses as a result of the mine’s operations in close proximity to their homes. Media for Justice reports that…

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Asylum in Germany, asylum in SA: Is there justice and humanity?

Although the numbers are disputed, South Africa and Germany are among the States Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention that receive the most asylum applications in the world. It is interesting, then, to compare the legal frameworks that both countries apply to asylum seekers. The most striking difference is that, in South Africa, asylum seekers…

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