Tag Archives: human rights

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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On voluntary tech servitude

I’m one of the many Android users who recently installed the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) application on their phone. Big deal. Doing this as I did, however, on the day Germany and Brazil were introducing a draft resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age at the UN General Assembly, I found myself confronting…

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Concourt ruling against ‘teen sex’ law protects rape survivors’ rights

Last week’s Constitutional Court ruling decriminalising consensual sexual relationships between teens was met with moralising outrage across the country. Sensationalist media fanned the flames of indignation by failing to contextualise the law’s effect on teen sexual relations – including rape.

Under the impugned sections 15 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) teenage rape survivors, especially girls, run the risk of being criminally charged for being raped.

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Marikana: When neoliberalism negates human rights

It is one year to the day that the Marikana massacre unfolded on the Wonderkop koppie and was witnessed on national television. The trauma of this spectacle still hangs heavy in the air for many who are unable to make any sense of this heinous occurrence, because there is no making sense of it. There…

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In India, HIV history repeats itself

By Sharon Ekambaram Recently, Mumbai Aids activists took to the streets protesting the Indian government’s failure to protect people living with HIV from discrimination. More than 20 years after South African activists took up the same fight at home, the protests are a stark reminder that the battle for equality, dignity and access to life-saving…

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Why the silence on the right to internet access?

The United Nations Human Rights Council has in the past called the right to freedom and expression “one of the essential foundations of a democratic society”. It has recognised the internet’s importance in the “promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression”. This subsequently led to a landmark resolution, which saw…

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