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The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa, Honourable Commissioner Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, expresses concern following reports of reprisals against human rights defenders and civil society in Africa and the adverse effects that national responses of States Parties to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have on their work.

In the context of this COVID-19 global pandemic, the role of human rights defenders has become ever more important to safeguard the fundamental human rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter).

The Rapporteur notes, in particular, serious violations of the freedom of assembly and association, as enshrined in the African Charter and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The Rapporteur deplores the fact that, notwithstanding the press releases of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 17 and 24 March 2020 encouraging States to ensure compliance with the provisions of the African Charter and advocating for effective and human rights-based responses to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, several human rights defenders continue to be detained in overcrowded or unsanitary prisons and other detention centres without being charged, and this makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

The Special Rapporteur stresses the obligation of States Parties to ensure that measures adopted within the framework of COVID-19 national responses are not used as an opportunity to discriminate against, stigmatize or target particular individuals or groups, including civil society organizations and human rights defenders.

The Special Rapporteur would like to remind that efforts deployed by States Parties to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their respective territories should not result in the silencing of human rights defenders and should comply with the provisions of the African Charter.

The Special Rapporteur would also like to call on human rights defenders to continue, with determination, their activities to promote and protect human rights in compliance with the laws and regulations adopted in the context of this global threat.

The Special Rapporteur urges States Parties to:

Ensure that national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic do not lead to the targeting or undue interference with the work of human rights defenders;

Refrain from using COVID-19 related emergency declarations to justify the adoption of repressive measures against specific groups such as human rights defenders;

Also refrain from adopting measures that restrict civic space and contribute to creating a hostile environment for human rights defenders;

Ensure that human rights defenders can communicate freely without fear of reprisal;

Take all necessary measures enabling human rights defenders to conduct their core activities, in particular, those providing support to the most vulnerable populations, while complying with the health measures necessary to combat COVID-19; and Promptly release human rights defenders detained without charge.

Category: covid-19

Face-masks are routinely used by healthcare workers to prevent the nosocomial spread of infections in hospitals. There has been considerable debate about the utility of widespread use of face-masks in the general public to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

1.There is good evidence to show that face-masks significantly reduce the spread of infectious droplets. A recent study involving 246 patients demonstrated that face-masks significantly reduced the detection of Ccoronavirus in the exhaled breath of Covid-19 patients. While 30% to 40% of 10 patients without masks had Coronavirus in their exhaled breath, none of the 11 Covid19 patients with masks had Coronavirus in their exhaled breath (refer to Table 1b below).

2.Through lowered amounts of exhaled Coronavirus, wearing a mask should reduce the spread of virus from individuals with the virus. The masks also reduced exhaled Influenza virus, though to a lesser extent.

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Category: covid-19

GENEVA/PRETORIA, 2 April 2020—UNAIDS is shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Gita Ramjee, who died of COVID-19 related complications on 31 March 2020. Her death is an immense loss to the HIV prevention research community. UNAIDS offers its full support to all efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent more loss of life.

“I am deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Gita Ramjee,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “She was an eminent scientist who dedicated her life to HIV prevention for women and girls in Africa. Her death is a huge loss at a time when the world needs her most. My condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.”

Ms Ramjee is globally recognized for her ground-breaking research in the field of HIV prevention technologies for women. In 1996, she led a trial on vaginal microbicides for the prevention of HIV among a group of sex workers in Durban, South Africa. The trial was her introduction to the HIV community and was the beginning of her commitment to women-initiated HIV prevention technologies that she pursued with unwavering dedication and commitment for more than two decades.

She held the position of Chief Specialist Scientist at the Aurum Institute, where she worked to improve the health of people and communities through HIV prevention, research and innovation. She previously held the positions of Chief Specialist Scientist and Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s HIV Prevention Unit and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Health, University of Washington. She was also an Honorary Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Ms Ramjee received several distinguished awards and accolades for her scientific contributions. In 2018, she was awarded the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership/European Union Outstanding African Female Scientist Award. She also co-chaired the Microbicide Conferences in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and in 2012 was honoured with the conference’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

UNAIDS mourns her untimely passing and will endeavour to honour her memory by continuing to support global efforts to find methods that enable women to take control of their HIV prevention and reproductive health and rights through informed choices.

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Category: covid-19

Civil Society Response to COVID-19

Civil Society calls for governmental and non-governmental actors to apply the “Leave No one Behind” principle when responding to COVID-19.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that an outbreak of the viral disease COVID-19 – first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China – had reached the level of a global pandemic.

We, as the South African Civil Society Working Group (SAWG) on SDGs, are particularly concerned about the vulnerability of poor and disadvantaged communities – who constitute the majority of our population – during this time. A large section of our society have compromised immune systems due to the prevalence HIV/AIDS and TB. Many people lack adequate water and sanitation facilities, live in crowded human settlements and rely on public transport systems. It is not hard to imagine that COVID-19 will be disastrous for our country once it hits these communities.

As witnessed in other countries hit by COVID-19, health systems are not prepared to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude. Our public health system is already working over capacity and is unlikely to cope with new cases every day. In addition, the unequal allocation of healthcare resources in South Africa would reduce the efficiency of any response to the crisis.

Experts warn that the consequences of inequality are deepened in societies affected by the virus, pushing many of the burdens onto the losers of today’s polarized economies and labour markets. They suggest that those in lower economic strata are more likely to catch the disease – and are more likely to die from it. And, even for those who remain healthy, the loss of income and access to non-COVID health care as a result of quarantines and other measures will have sweeping and disastrous consequences.

SAWG therefore calls for governmental and non-governmental actors to apply the “Leave No one Behind” principle in the response to COVID-19. We call for exhaustive interventions that are inclusive and that prioritise the needs of the poor and disadvantaged communities.
View full report

Category: covid-19

SA COVID-19 cases rises

Health Media Release
Fellow South Africans, as at today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 1187.We must outrightly state that these numbers do not indicate a reduction in the number of infections. It is merely a reflection of positive results that were received, verified and ready for today’s reporting.

Click to Read full Report

Category: covid-19

My fellow South Africans,
It is a week since we declared the coronavirus pandemic a national disaster and announced a package of extraordinary measures to combat this grave public health emergency.

The response of the South African people to this crisis has been remarkable. Millions of our people have understood the gravity of the situation. Most South Africans have accepted the restrictions that have been placed on their lives and have taken responsibility for changing their behaviour.

I am heartened that every sector of society has been mobilised and has accepted the role that it needs to play. From religious leaders to sporting associations, from political parties to business
people, from trade unions to traditional leaders, from NGOs to public servants, every part of our society has come forward to confront this challenge.

Many have had to make difficult choices and sacrifices, but all have been determined that these choices and sacrifices are absolutely necessary if our country is to emerge stronger from this disaster.

Over the past week, South Africans have demonstrated their determination, their sense of purpose, their sense of community and their sense of responsibility.

For this, we salute you and we thank you.

On behalf of the nation, I would also like to thank the health workers, our doctors, nurses and paramedics who are on the frontline of the pandemic, our teachers, border officials, police and traffic officers and all the other people who have been leading our response.
Since the national state of disaster was declared, we have put in place a range of regulations and directives.

These regulations have restricted international travel, prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people, closed schools and other educational institutions and restricted the sale of alcohol after 6pm.

We reiterate that the most effective way to prevent infection is through basic changes in individual behaviour and hygiene. We are therefore once more calling on everyone to:
– wash hands frequently with hand sanitisers or soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
– cover our nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow;
– avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Everyone must do everything within their means to avoid contact with other people. Staying at home, avoiding public places and cancelling all social activities is the preferred best defence against the virus.

Over the past week, as we have been implementing these measures, the global crisis has deepened.

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Category: covid-19

ALBERTON – Alberton IPS, 68 Voortrekker, Rd, New Redruth, 1449
VEREENIGING – Netcare, Room 206 Mulbarton Medical Centre, 27 True N Rd, (Hospital), JHB, 2190
46 Rhodes Ave, 1939
LENASIA SOUTH – Lenmed in hospital,
DAXINA Medical Centre
KRUGERSDORP – Krugersdorp Lab, Outpatient Depot, 1 Boshoff Street, 1739
SOWETO Healthcare Hub
Birchleigh depot, 7 Leo Street
Kempton square shopping centre, shop 61
BEDFORDVIEW GERMISTON – Leicester depot, suite no 8 Leicester Medical Mews, 7 Leicester Road
JOHANNESBURG – Houghton Hotel Depot, 53 2nd Ave, Houghton Estate, 2198, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG – 62 Orchard Rd, Cheltondale, 2192, South Africa
ROSEBANK – Lancet Corner, Corner Stanley and Menton Rd, Richmond Auckland Park
ROSEBANK – Rosebank Lab, 3rd Floor, 8 Sturdee Avenue,
BEDFORDVIEW – 173 Rivonia Road, Morningside, Sandton, South Africa Rochester Place Office Block A
GERMISTON – 8 Parks Street

BLOEMFONTEIN – Room G07, Mediclinic Bloemfontein, Kellner St, Westdene, 9301
KIMBERLEY – 112 Mac Dougall St, El Toro Park, 8301
WELKOM – RH Matjhabeng, Power Road, Reitzpark

CAPE TOWN – 2 Heide Street, Bloemhof, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – Brackenfell Medical Centre, Cnr Brackenfell & Old Paarl Road , South Africa
CAPE TOWN – Cnr Longmarket & Parliament Street, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – Smartsurv House, Century City, 7441
CAPE TOWN – 15 Paul Kruger Street, Durbanville, South Africa
Shop 9 De Kuilen Shopping Centre Carinus Street
CAPE TOWN – 7c Solway Street, Bellville West A, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – 91 Jan Smuts Dr, Pinelands, 7405, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – Rondebosch Medical Center, 95 Klipfontein Rd, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
1st Floor, Room 4 Harbour Bay Medical Centre
STELLENBOSCH – Trumali House, Trumali Street, Harringtons Place, South Africa
SIR LOWRY’S PASS – Arun Place Block 6 Unit F, Cherrywood Gardens, South Africa
STELLENBOSCH – Stellenbosch Oewerpark Suite 12A Rokewood Road, Die Boord, South Africa

LADYSMITH- Lenmed La Verna Private Hospital 1 Convent Rd, 3370
NEWCASTLE- Mediclinic Newcastle Private Hospital 78 Bird St, Newcastle Central, 2940
EMPANGENI- Life Empangeni Garden Clinic 50 Biyela St, Empangeni Central, 3880
UMHLANGA- Busamed Gateway private Hospital, 36-38 Aurora Dr, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319
BEREA- Berea 1st Floor, Mayet Medical Centre, 482 Randles Rd, Sydenham, 4091
DURBAN- Ahmed Al-Khadi Private Hospital 490 Jan Smuts Hwy, Mayville, 4058
CHATSWORTH- Life Chatsmed Private Hospital Suite 121- 201 West Wing Chatsmed Garden Hospital, 80 Woodhurst Dr, 4092
ISIPINGO- JMH Isipingo private hospital Suite 2 Grnd flr Medical Towers Isipingo Hospital, 162 Phila Ndwandwe Rd, Isipingo Rail, 4133
PORT SHEPSTONE- 28 Bazley St, 4240
HILTON- Suite 205 Midlands Medical Centre, 162-166 Masukwana St, Pietermaritzburg, 3201
HILTON Gardens, 3245
PHOENIX- Life Mt Edgecombe Private Hospital Ste 1 Phoenix Medical Ctr, Redberry Rd, Rockford, 4068
BEREA- Life Entabeni Private Hospital Suite 8 Level 3 West Wing Entabeni Hospital, 148 Mazisi Kunene Rd, 4001

POLOKWANE CENTRAL – 44A Grobler street
TZANEEN – 71 Wolksberg Road, Ivory Tusk Lodge
THOUYANDOU – Corner Mpehephu & Mvusuludzo near Cash build
PHALABORWA – Clinix Private Hospital, No 86 Grosvenor Street

RUSTENBURG – 1 Kok Street
POTCHEFSTROOM – Cachet Park Depot, Shop 24 Cnr Steve Biko & Meyer Street, 2531


Regions for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
PENCARDIA – 0124830100
EUGENE MARAIS – 0124048060

WOODHILL – 0129980299
FAERIE GLEN – 0123489100

SAXBY DEPOT – 0123842151

Category: covid-19


Aviation is one of the high-risk sector which enables high levels of mobility and by extension the spread of the coronavirus. As a sector, we have are putting in place measures to mitigate the risks.

Desktop exercises have been carried out across all our airports, in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) advisory to ensure that screening measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease are implemented, without unnecessary restrictions to international traffic. ACSA has since procured and distributed masks for all frontline staff at all ACSA airports.

As an integral part in the airport operations value chain, the following are mandatory measures for the airlines and all handling agents:

All airline and/or ground handling staff carrying out assisted passenger services (specifically passengers with reduced mobility) are required to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (surgical mask and gloves) when facilitating arriving international passengers.

Passenger-facing personnel, particularly for all international arrivals, transfers terminal and the domestic recheck, are required to use PPE (surgical masks and gloves).

All handling agent staff that are at a high risk of contact (including, but not limited to passenger escorting, VIP services facilitation, ticket sales, baggage handling and loading, aircraft grooming, catering services, cargo handling agents, bus drivers and crew transport drivers) are required to wear PPE (surgical masks and gloves).

All passenger busses will require additional cleaning/sanitization measures to be implemented and ACSA will increase oversight in this aspect.

The President announced that we are imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China as from 18 March 2020. From a Transport point of view, this means:

No foreign nationals will be allowed from these countries through our ports of entry, which include airports, sea ports and railways.

Charter Operators will be re-routed to international airports that have the Ports Health capability to manage a suspected case. The following international airports have the necessary capacity and will be ready to handle charter flights:

o OR Tambo
o Lanseria
o King Shaka
o Upington
o Polokwane
o Bram Fisher
o Kruger Mpumalanga International
o Pilanesburg
o Port Elizabeth
o Cape Town

The Civil Aviation Authority has issued guidelines for infection control for all airlines in respect of passenger, cargo and baggage handling. These are guided by the general guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In order to mitigate the risk, the Civil Aviation Authority will conduct ramp inspections on all identified high-risk airlines.

Public Transport

The Taxi industry transports more than 16 million people and represents a critical sector which must be at the forefront of robust interventions and awareness to manage the risks. We will implement an aggressive information drive to create awareness and promote preventative measures.

Taxi and bus operators must become ambassadors whose task is to disseminate information

The Department of Transport will engage the leadership of the taxi and bus industries to mount an aggressive information drive working closely with the Department of Health on preventative measures in the public transport environment.

Random testing measures be implemented in the public transport environment, with particular emphasis on commuter rail.


SAMSA will immediately operationalize an operational plan for all ships calling at port, guided by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and WHO (World Health Organisation) HANDBOOK FOR MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH EVENTS ON BOARD SHIPS and will at all times be guided by directives issued by the Department of Health.

Cross-Border Transport

The Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) will work with Border and Health authorities to ensure screening of truck drivers at all inland borders that continue to allow cross-border traffic as announced by the President.

C-BRTA is currently working together with Department of Home Affairs to assist Cross-Border operators (Commercial operators which are freight, buses, tour and taxi operators), with information required and to inform them about measures that are in place at the land border posts regarding their travel.

Furthermore, C-BRTA is participating in daily co-ordination meetings for the COVID-19 pandemic at Lebombo and Beitbridge border posts and co-ordinating with stakeholders in other borders. C-BRTA is reviewing permit issuance with a view to discourage all non-essential cross border movement and will be in discussion with the Department of Transport, Provinces and SADC member states.

The necessary regulations to enable these measures have been developed and will be implemented on time for the measures to kick in on 18 March 2020.

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Disaster Management Act – Ammendments to transportation 31 March 2020

Category: covid-19

Human Rights Institute of South Africa wish to inform its partners and communities about the reality of the Coronavirus which originated from Wuhan, in China from November 2019. The virus is spreading around the world and has arrived in South Africa. The government is updated on developments of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on preventative measures to implement for ending the spread of the virus. The number of people infected by the virus in South Africa has doubled, especially in Gauteng Province since 15 March 2020. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has set up a COVID-19 HOTLINE 0800 029 999.


Category: covid-19

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) wishes to inform the general public of the postponement of the 66th Ordinary Session, which was scheduled to be held from 22 April to 12 May 2020 in Banjul, The Gambia.

Following the press statement it issued on COVID19 and the advisory it adopted to give effect to African Union COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Action Plan issued by the African Union Commission on 13 March 2020,the Commission has decided to postpone the 66th Ordinary Session as part of the measures it adopted to prevent the spread of the virus and protect participants and stafffrom the virus.

The Commission will regularly monitor the situation and subject to further confirmation based on the evolution of the situation and further guidelines from the AUC, the 66th OS is tentatively scheduled to take place during May/June 2020.

The Commission takes this opportunity to applaud States Parties to the African Charter that have adopted the required measures for containing the spread of the virus including through the declaration of a state of national disaster and reiterates its statement of 28 February 2020 that States Parties are legally bound under the African Charter to take all necessary human and peoples’ rights based measures for preventing the threat this pandemic poses to the life, safety and health of the public.

Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso

Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Banjul, The Gambia, 17 March 2020

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Category: covid-19