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16 June 2020


The June month is dedicated to commemoration of the SOWETO uprising that took place on 16 June 1976. It was led by school children protesting against the introduction of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in South African Schools by the apartheid regime. The apartheid regime enforced a separate development system to maintain supremacy of the minority over the majority. This was with a view to sustain segregation, suppression of political right for black people, inequality, promotion of inhuman and degrading treatment of black people with impunity! All laws, policies, programmes, plans and strategies promoted injustice and exclusion of the majority. The youth of 1976 are remembered for their bravery in organising a historical protest to confront a heavily armed state security with lethal grenades, tear gas, preventing them from expressing their views against inferior education system! School children across SOWETO townships joined the protest to resist lessons to be taught in Afrikaans. This dark day ended with many youth massacred, injured, arbitrarily arrested and many skipped the country in fear of reprisals, extra judicial killings targeting youth leaders and organisers of the march.

This year commemoration of the youth month coincide with efforts to combat an invisible new novel coronavirus which is affecting the global community. The government has placed the nation under lockdown with restrictive measures to contain the pandemic. These include maintenance of hygiene, regular washing of hands with safe water, soap, sanitising and social distancing. These measures are set to save lives of citizens from contacting the virus! The country completed alerts levels 5, 4 and commenced alert level 3 on 1 June 2020. Although this level eased some regulations allowing movement of people, the public is still required to observe hygiene protocols and ensure compliance to curb the virus, including washing of hands with safe water, social distancing, scanning and tracking of infected people, sanitising, especially in public & private lives. The Department of Basic Education had reported it’s preparedness and readiness to reopen schools and learners to assume classes as from 1 June 2020. However, many schools are not adequately prepared to implement the protocol set to prevent COVID 19. There are schools without infrastructure for safe water, sanitation and still using pit toilets. HURISA has been monitoring the situation closely in collaboration with it’s Human Rights Forum and Youth Economic & Social network.

A petition was issued with recommendations to DBE protect the health and well-being of all children. Dates for reopening schools has been postponed to 8 June 2020. We are concerned that many schools might not be ready to reopen on 8 June 2020 living behind many disadvantaged children from learning!

We are calling the DBE to protect the rights of all children in South Africa and prioritise the needs in disadvantaged schools particularly to ensure all school adhere to protocols adopted to curb coronavirus. Provide adequate assistance to these schools to enable them practice hygiene, including washing hands regularly with safe water and soap, sanitisers, with safe and healthy sanitation and keeping social distance to avoid overcrowding in classes.

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The global community was caught unexpected by a daunting epidemic that is plunging humanity unabated worldwide. Sadly, this invisible is spreading fast around the world by physical interaction with people, gathering of people, and movement of people. COVID 19 has claimed lives of nearly a quarter million of people. It has devastated families, destroying the sacrosanct cultural practices known to have existed for many generations performed to honour the dead and to pay last respects. It has overwhelmed health systems, institutions, health workers, scientists, physicians, and pharmacists. The ongoing scenarios are holding the world at ransom. It has left world leaders with difficult decisions to make for saving lives. The commercial activities of countries are heavily overburdened and business is intensively affected. With movement of people constrained. Spirits are low, worship in churches, temples, mosques is prohibited, and schools are closed even sports. Only a few qualifying as essential service providers are permitted to open.

The pandemic impacts severely on livelihoods in vulnerable communities mostly surviving as informal traders. They face further risks in working in insecure environments with no fringe benefits like thirteenth cheques or bonuses, insurance, medical health care, pension fund or housing. It is an area where the true meaning of survival of the fittest and living from hand to mouth is a lived experience. It is sad that the harsh environments in which income is generated mostly affect Africans who voted African leadership in power. This picture is always dismissed by shifting blame on the legacy of economic inequalities. The question is how many billions and trillions of Rands meant for uplifting Africans disappeared under the noses of our own government with living conditions having worsened in communities, townships and the constantly mushrooming squatter camps. There is no way that workers living in such deplorable conditions can contribute to the wellbeing of people, including protecting their lives and practicing hygiene.

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Category: Media statement

Human Rights Day – 21 March


Theme for Year 2020: Unity, Socio Economic Renewal and Nation Building

21 March is acknowledged as a National Human Rights Day in South Africa. This day has contributed immensely to the history of human rights in South Africa’s. The historical impetus of this day is dedicated to the freedom fighter that sacrificed their lives against the apartheid regime and segregated system that divided people by race & color. Their bravery was demonstrated 60 years ago, on 21 March 1960 when police open fire and massacred 69 people and 150 injured for peaceful protests against “pass laws” which violated their human dignity. This law enforced severe restrictions of movement of African people, then referred to as the natives, required to carry passbooks- known as “dom pass” whenever found outside the homelands or apartheid designated areas. This became the first state of emergency to be declared in South Africa amid violence, arbitrary arrests, police shooting and tear gassing in black townships throughout the country. This massacre made international headlines as the ANC and former President Nelson Mandela were banned from speaking in public. It was only in 1994 when Constitutional democracy guaranteed the citizens freedom of association, assembly and expression. Human Rights Institute of South Africa – HURISA will join the rest of the country to remember the huge price paid by the Sharpeville freedom stalwart’s for our hard earned democracy. The Constitution also safeguard economic and social rights which unfortunately still remain a major struggle of the poor even in the new human rights dispensation.

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Sona SA


Dear His Excellency President Ramaphosa

Human Rights Institute of South Africa is honoured to address this letter to you for your kind consideration in your 2020 State of the Nation address on Thursday, 13, February 2020.

First and foremost, HURISA congratulate you Mr President on your inauguration as the Chairperson of the African Union. Indeed, this is a prestigious position which needs the country to rally behind you in ensuring achievement of the AU Agenda 2063 and complementary objectives during your tenor and to leave behind an insightful legacy that will take South Africa and the African Union to new high.

We also wish to express our admiration for the milestone South Africa achieved in becoming a Non-permanent Member at United Nations Security Council from 2019-2021 and for South Africa’s Chairship at the UN SCR for one month in October 2019. We acknowledge the positive steps taken in the favourable vote on the Third Committee Resolution on Human Right Defenders for implementation of the United Nations Declaration on HRDs and protection of policies and mechanisms. Also for co-sponsoring the NHRI Resolution for the first time after a long advocacy of support.

Having acknowledged the outstanding milestones and distinguished roles South Africa assumes at both AU & UN, it is disappointing that our human rights performance at home remains a worrying concern. It seems the snare of corruption has deepened across board . Mechanisms and efforts to fight corruption are noted, however they seem weak and ineffective as to-date nothing has been done to prosecute the suspects of the state capture, while we praise ourselves for embracing a human rights environment which upholds the rule of law. There is a concern that despite the outstanding professionalism and integrity displayed by the State Capture Inquiry adjudication team, prosecutions remain outstanding.

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THE TRAGIC DEATH OF ENOCK MPIANZI


Flowers laid outside Parktown Boys’ High School

Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

23 January 2020

Media Statement

The Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) stands in solidarity with the family of Enock Mpianzi the 13-year-old grade 8 pupil of Parktown Boys High School who died during a school orientation camp after a makeshift raft he had built with 11 other boys overturned in the Crocodile River swollen by recent rains.

About 200 pupils took part in the camp which took place at the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge in the North West last week. Enock is the fourth child to drown at the lodge. The 13-year-old’s disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours and his body was found 3km downstream a day after he was reported missing.

                  Enoch Mpianz                                                                                                   Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge                                                                                                                                                  Picture: Ahmed Kajee/EWN

HURISA is in support of the investigation carried out by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). We call for justice for Mpianzi and remind the public and suspects to respect the constitutional mandate of SAHRC to conduct the investigation independently without fear, favour or prejudice.

HURISA is calling on parents in South Africa to work together in ensuring protection of children and holding the school accountable for the gross negligence that led to the untimely death of Mpianzi. The constitution protects everyone not to be subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. It also safeguards the best interest of the children and defines children as anyone under the age of 18 years.

Mpianzi’s family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He lived in Yeoville in Johannesburg and is a relative to one of HURISA’s staff member Cathy Elsando. May the precious soul of Enock Mpianzi rest in peace and may the Mpianzi family be comforted at their tragic loss.

For more information contact
Lindiwe Khoza
HURISA Communication and Advocacy Officer
Email: lindiwe@hurisa.org.za
Mobile 063 319 8346

HURISA STATEMENT ON THE TRAGIC DEATH OF ENOCK MPIANZI

Category: Media statement

HURISA 25th Anniversary Report 2019


The year 2019 was very important in various ways for South Africa and Human Rights Institute of South Africa. Firstly, South Africa marked 25 years of freedom as a human rights and democratic state. South Africa ascended to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member from 2019 – 2020. South Africa assumed roles as President of UNSC for a one month, in October 2019. It was also the 25th Anniversary of HURISA formation working towards defending human rights, through education & training, research and advocacy programmes. The organisation was privileged to conduct dialogues countrywide on South Africa’s human rights and democratic trajectory since 1994. This included assessment of the policy making systems and process in South Africa and scrutinized the prominence of public participation, as well as the public platforms, policy implementation, opportunities and challenges facing the country. The organisation coordinated provincial dialogues in nine provinces across the country through support from the Royal Embassy of Denmark. HURISA used the opportunity to mirror its own human rights approaches in performing functions as a human rights organisation over the years at national, regional and global levels. The organisation continue playing this important role at the grass roots level, especially in promoting protection of human rights for the most vulnerable in our society. The milestone achieved in impacting capacity building programmes, awareness raising, research studies, advocacy initiatives, public platforms, informationdissemination in diverse communities and media demonstrated a great need for more work to be done in promoting freedom of association, assembly, democracy, public participation in policy making and decision making. It was important to devise innovative ideas for constructive engagement at high levels as well as finding creative ways to sustain a culture of human rights, respect of the rule of law, peace, democracy and accountability in South Africa and beyond 25 years to come. HURISA was privileged to garner testimonies from the grass roots communities that were able to express their experiences and impressions on South Africa’s human rights and democratic society established in 1994. The organisation adopted a slogan “Celebrate What? For Who?” with the aim of enthusing robust and vibrant dialogues from diversity of participants from all levels of communities across the country

About This Report

This report provides summaries of activities undertaken to mark South Africa’s 25th anniversary of human rights and democracy. The report also outline details of activities conducted during implementation of the project, including analysis of challenges detected and contribution of recommendations collated for strengthening efforts aimed at creating a culture of human rights and consolidation of democratic ethos to the South- Africa -We -Want. The report is divided into seven parts. The first part of the report outlines the structure adopted for implementation of the project. This structure enabled smooth implementation of human rights dialogues across the country. This include; Establishment of the Reference Group, Provincial Focal Points, Hosting of Provincial Dialogues, Schedule of Provincial Dialogues and List of Provincial Focal Points. The second part of the report provides Issues that Emerged from Provincial Dialogues. The third part of the report highlights all aspects and activities Marking 25 Years of Human Rights and Democracy in South Africa i.e.; Launch of the National Report and Key Findings as Presented at the Launch of National Report. The fourth part of the report reflect the establishment of the Human Rights Forum which preceded the High Level Panel, which was followed by the Award Ceremony and Media related activities undertaken such as social media, radio and TV interviews. The fifth part showcase advocacy exercises conducted at intergovernmental structures such as the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Pan African Parliament, National Parliament and United Nations. The sixth relates to work conducted under SDGs
auspices and contribution of recommendations. Finally, the seventh part of the report contains the Conclusion,
Acknowledgement of significant roles played by various individuals and organisations during implementation of the
25th Anniversary, including, the picture collage enhancing the special memories.

To read full report/To Download Click Here

EENA REPORT SA 2015 Click Here

EENA REPORT SA 2016 Click Here

EENA REPORT SA 2018 Click Here

Category: ENA, Media statement

Media statement for immediate release


Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) turns 25 years today, 6th September 2019.
The organisation will host a High Level Panel on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, at the Constitutional Court, in Johannesburg to mark its 25th Anniversary.
HURISA transformed in 1994 after existing as the Institute for the Study of Public Violence, and serving as the research and documentation arm of the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry – Chaired by Judge Richard Goldstone.
To this end, HURISA remains a preferred partner of choice in promoting human rights, peace and democracy in South Africa and beyond.
The organisation contributed immensely towards the adoption of Regulations of Gatherings Act in 1993, and serves as a Support Group Member on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, established by the African Commission on Humana and People’s Rights.
The High Level Panel is the first of its kind to be hosted by HURISA with the theme *“A Country in Crisis: Taking Voices from the Ground to Action.”*
Recognition of historical foundation of selfless efforts will be acknowledged to individuals and organisations that continue to make a difference to HURISA and the community. Speakers include prominent figures such as the former Chairperson of the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry, Retired Judge, Richard Goldstone; Former Commissioner, Advocate Solly Sithole SC and Lead Council and Evidence Leader , Advocate Johan du Toit; Deputy Director NPA, His Excellency Ambassador Tobias Elling Rehfeld of the Royal Danish Embassy; and Her Excellency, Ms Astrid Emilie Helle; Justice Jody Kollapen; Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator; Dr Zonke Majodina HURISA Board Member and former UN Human Rights Committee Member & Deputy Chairperson of the SAHRC, Commissioner Mohamed Shafie Ameermia and Dr Marjory Jobson, the Khulumani Support Group Executive Director and Former CRL Commissioner.

HURISA looks forward to more impactful programmes and continuous partnership in the human rights space.
For more details please contact: tshepo@hurisa.org.za, tom@hurisa.org.za, Tel 011 492 1103, Cell 072 358 8611

Category: Media statement

HURISA HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM


Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) makes inroads in strengthening a stronger voice for accountable human rights response in South Africa.

HURISA Human Rights Forum was identified during the launch of the National Report on the 25th Anniversary of human rights and democracy in South Africa, facilitated by HURISA on 7th August 2019 at Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

This Human Rights Forum was provoked by the communities’ desperation for action beyond dialogue and will serve as a new vehicle to amplify Voices from the ground in keeping communities abreast and engaged on the human rights crisis facing the country and as well as contributing solutions to the crisis, to move forward from promise to delivery.

With this, a new paradigm shift is realised for holding government and communities accountable to human rights in the country. The launch of the national report brought together a diverse grouping of community activists from nine provinces of the country which includes human rights defenders, journalists, academicians, cultural and religious activists, some local municipalities and representatives from provincial government departments.

It was noted that while South Africa’s Constitutional framework is hailed as a beacon of hope and globally acclaimed as a progressive human rights instrument, unfortunately implementation has been thwarted by among others, extreme lack of political will displayed in the flagrant corruption in state institutions, constant breaches of public duties, increasing crime levels, brutal violence and gender based violence.

As for the current and past human rights violations that grapple the country, especially the backlog on service delivery, violation of freedom of association, assembly and expression including the lack of implementation of basic fundamental rights and irregular compliance with national, regional and international human rights obligations have resulted in violent protests that dubbed South Africa as a violent society.

The collapse of state institutions, break down of the rule of law and unaccountable leadership have sparked violent service delivery and the current anarchy in our society including uncontrollable crime. While the scourge of violence against women, children and other vulnerable groups such as People with Albinism, People with Disability, Indigenous Group and Refugees requires concrete plan of action and supportive and competent law enforcement. In addition, substance abuse and crime amongst youth needs urgent attention in efforts to build South Africa’s future.

Unfortunately this bad picture of human rights mostly affects the poor who live in rural communities and whose situation remain unchanged. It is concerning that the suffering of the poor has been increased by the very leaders they have voted in power as many of them wonder why their situation remains unchanged even in the new human rights and democratic dispensation.

For example, many wonder why they continue to use pits toilets, why should children continue to walk long distances to school, and taught in inhuman and degrading school environment characterised by mud and dilapidated schools buildings and as well as the mushrooming of informal settlements.  They question the ruling party for the existence of extreme gaps of inequality between the haves and haves not, including a few privileged enjoying human rights and democracy in the country.

The political deployments, nepotism, violent political intolerance, exoneration of the perpetrators of human rights violations disregard commitment to tackle the past economic and social injustices. This picture negates the hard earned aspiration of a democratic country based on human dignity and freedom. It also attributes negatively on South Africa’s nascent human rights and democratic dispensation.

South Africa as world leader and non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council for the next two years calls for renewed commitment to upholding human rights obligation for upliftment of the poor and disadvantaged. This includes installation of competent and value based leadership at all spheres of governance and community. Furthermore, South Africa’s chairship to the African Union is positive and will need to maintain a good example of human rights and democracy for Africa’s upliftment and to be innovative towards achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063.

A High Level Panel is planned for 10 September 2019, where Retired Justice Richard Goldstone will be in conversation with key legal fraternal and civil society in search of a solution to the worrying state of human rights in South Africa.

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For more information contact

Lindiwe Khoza

HURISA Communication and Advocacy

lindiwe@hurisa.org.za

Mobile 063 319 8346

Category: Media statement

Mandela Day 2019


HURISA Statement on Mandela Day 18 July 2019

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity and to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela.

It was Mr. Mandela who visited Norway in 1992 to request assistance from the Government of Norway to set up an effective monitoring system for addressing the politically motivated public violence that was threatening South Africa’s transition process from apartheid to multiracial democracy. And therefore, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of President Nelson Mandela, the father of our democracy.

The 18th of July marks the birthday of both Adelaide Tambo and Nelson Mandela. At HURISA, we salute these two freedom fighters today and every day. As a tribute to Adelaide Tambo, to Nelson Mandela and to all South Africans who navigates the path of fighting for justice; we commemorate that which captures the essence of the soul of our non-racial democracy – remembering that South Africa emerged from a culture of gross human rights violation.

Year 2019 is a significant year in South Africa marking its 6th democratic election since 1994 and marking 25th Anniversary of its human rights and democratic dispensation. It is also the year that coincides with the 25th Anniversary of HURISA originally known as the Institute for Research into the Study of Public Violence. It is for this reason that HURISA heightens the impetus of the year 2019 by creating vibrant dialogue platforms at provincial and national level to raise human rights issues affecting South Africa today.

For more information contact

Lindiwe Khoza

HURISA Communication and Advocacy

lindiwe@hurisa.org.za

Mobile 063 319 8346

Category: Media statement


South Africa – VNR Inputs
Focal Point from MGoS is:
Ellie Lederman – intern@ida-secretariat.org
Leanne Hartill – lhartill@bigpond.net.au
Country-specific inputs received from:
• José María Toledo Soto – jm.toledosoto@hotmail.es
• Kate Donald – kdonald@cesr.org
• Ayman Okeil – h.monsif@maatpeace.org
Others:
• Anna Henry anna@endcorporalpunishment.org
• Nonhlanhla Sibanda Moyo nsibanda@csvr.org.za
• Corlett Letlojane corlett@hurisa.org.za
• Kim Windvogel kimwindvogel@gmail.com
Instructions to draft the statement(s):
• Please read these points carefully
• Prior to drafting please read all inputs received for your country and in addition the cross-cutting inputs (google doc)
• Make sure that the statement uses all country-specific inputs received below. Not all who have inputted will be able to attend the HLPF. It is the responsibility of those who are drafting the statement to consider the inputs and key messages from those who will not be there in person
• Communicate with the entire group whose email addresses are copied in above. Suggestion: prior to drafting you may send an introductory email and propose a call to discuss or you can communicate via email.
• Feel free to engage more people in the statement writing but always make sure to introduce them and be transparent in all the communication
• We advise that you use this google doc for drafting and we ask that you use this google doc to submit your final statement.
• Keep in mind that these statements are collaborative. Therefore always be respectful.
________________________________________
Statement #1 (please do not exceed 300 words)
We commend the considerable progress South Africa made since 1994. However, we note the slow pace of localisation of the SDGs.
Equitable access to quality education remains a major challenge, especially among learners living in economically marginalised areas; How does government plan to address SDG 4?
South Africa is ranked as one of the ten most violent places in the world. Levels of gender-based violence are particularly high, with a femicide rate five times that of the global average; communities are living in fear, the army has recently been dispatched to certain communities affected, this is not a solution and could have negative effects on the very people living in those communities. What long term, sustainable plans are being put in place to address the violence South Africans face on a daily basis?
In terms of the impact of climate change, poor and marginalised communities bear the brunt, with child and female-headed households affected disproportionately; How will government address this?
We note with concern that South Africa is categorised as an upper middle-income country, which does not consider the high levels of inequality. This categorisation has implications in terms of trade, technology transfer, and access to development support.
How will the country tackle corruption and illicit financial flows that robs the country of at least 11 % of public expenditure?
As Civil Society we note with excitement that our gvt has now adopted an institutional framework for the coordination of sustainable development. We call on our government to ensure that within the next 12 months this framework is operationalised.
Statement #2 (can be delivered in case time permits)
We note that achieving the SDG’s is a challenging task. However time is not on our side and the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in South Africa requires a new sense of urgency. How will South Africa demonstrate the urgent implementation of the SDG’s by 2030 considering that those who drafted the NDP lacks equitable gender analysis related to SDG 5.
In your statement you mentioned that SOUTH Africa is propoor, but I come from a province that penalizes people who are homeless, by fining them enormous amounts for sleeping on the street.
You mentioned collaboration in your statement, but we express our concern that there was not an inclusive process to consult civil society when preparing the VNR. The SDGs cannot be achieved in South Africa without mobilizing the considerable energies of communities, the youth that make up 60% of our country, various social movements and civil society, this relates to SDG 17 ensuring that no one is left behind through creating enabling environments for transparent and collaborative partnerships.
In the spirit of leaving no one behind how do we reconcile the women empowerment mentioned in your statement when only 7% of Healthcare facilities provide abortions on demand when it is supposed to be a right under the choice on termination of pregnancy act for all South Africans.
We call the government’s attention to the 2018 recommendations of the UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee called on the government to:
• Review fiscal policy, to better mobilize domestic resources and increase its redistributive effect
• Increase levels of funding in the areas of social security, health, quality education
• The Committee also called for the decriminalisation of sex work, the protection of sex workers from all forms of harrassment and violence. Which directly relates to SDG 8, decent work, which is enshrined in the constitution of the country that mentions that each person has the right to their own occupation and to be free from all forms of discrimination.
How does the government plan to address these recommendations in a way that is both constitutionally gender responsive, inclusive of the youth of South Africa and sustainable for all?

Category: Media statement