Blog Archives


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.

Download

For more information contact

Lindiwe Khoza

HURISA Communication and Advocacy

lindiwe@hurisa.org.za

Mobile 063 319 8346

Comments Off on ENABLING ENVIRONMENT NATIONAL ASSESSMENT: SOUTH AFRICA

COUNTRY REPORT0 AUGUST 2018.

This research explores civil society monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.10 on
fundamental freedoms and access to information, as well as SDG 17.17 on effective civil society
partnerships in South Africa. In particular, the research examines the five dimensions associated with
SDG 16.10 and SDG 17.17, which are: (1) freedom of association; (2) freedom of expression; (3) access
to information; (4) peaceful assembly; and (5) effective civil society partnerships.Read More

Comments Off on 2016 A NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF THE ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA

The Enabling Environment National Assessment (EENA) is part of the Civic Space Initiative, implemented
by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
(ICNL), in partnership with ARTICLE 19 and the World Movement for Democracy, with support of the
Government of Sweden.
This report is wholly financed by the Government of Sweden. The Government of Sweden does not
necessarily share the opinions here within expressed. The author bears the sole responsibility for the
content.Read More

Comments Off on 2015 A National Assessment of the Enabling environment for Civil Society organisations in south africa

The Enabling Environment National Assessment (EENA) is part of the Civic Space Initiative, implemented by CIVICUS: World
Alliance for Citizen Participation and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), in partnership with ARTICLE 19
and the World Movement for Democracy, with support of the Government of Sweden.
This report is wholly financed by the Government of Sweden. The Government of Sweden does not necessarily share the
opinions here within expressed. The author bears the sole responsibility for the content.Read More

Comments Off on INVITATION!!! :Launch of three months findings enabling environment for civil society in south Africa

The Research Study examined the state of implementation of Freedom of Association, Assembly, Expression, Access to Information & Effective Civil Society Partnerships in South Africa as provided by United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16:10 & 17:17.

Speakers include Prof Fikeni Samadoda, Mrs Thoko Mpumlwana, Ms Jayshree Pather, Dr Zonke Majodina, Moray Hathorn & Ms Corlett Letlojane

  • Date: Tuesday, 03 July 2018
  • Venue :Webber Wentzel, 90 Rivonia Road, Sandton, Johannesburg
  • Time: 08:30 to 13:30
  • RSVP: By 25 June to Mamphule Ntladi; mamphule@hurisa.org.za, or
  • Tshepo Legodi; tshepo@hurisa.org.za

June 2018

June 16 is a historical and a very significant day for the people of South Africa, particularly the youth. This is a day to reflect and honour the youth that was ambushed by the apartheid regime police in Soweto on 16 June 1976 whose human dignity was stripped off brutally, because it was on this day that they took to the streets to protest against the enforcement of the use of Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction for teaching and learning in schools, which was imposed by the apartheid regime.

The 1976 Soweto Uprising is now regarded as a turning point of youth in South Africa because this era marked the beginning of various youth organisations including the Black Consciousness Movement, and many other organisations that played a critical role and became active in the 1980s. This again, is an important reminder that Youth Day serves not only as a reminder of the role of the youth in the liberation struggle, but also of the critical importance of young people as agents of change in the country.

The events of 16 June 1976 highlight a few individuals who took part in the Soweto Uprising. Therefore as we commemorate this day, we acknowledge the challenges that the youth of today still struggle with, because they continue to occupy a special space in our history. In 2015, we have witnessed university students launched a movement called ‘Fees Must Fall’ highlighting the financial constraints they go through at their institutions of learning. The movement became a international ideology and attracted even students from countries such as UK at the Oxford University to also raise their concerns at their own institutions of learning. So essentially, the youth of 1976 was fighting against the Bantu Education, which was inferior policy in schools. Now we see the youth of today fighting against fees and exclusion of learning. And in the midst of all these, we have also seen so many violations of the rights of these students by the police and also by the universities themselves. Students could not express themselves and assemble around their campuses; and therefore it is worrying that the constitution has safeguarded these principles and rights on paper, but it becomes a challenge when they must be practiced. For example, the constitution is explicit about duty of the government to secure the well-being of the people of the Republic of South Africa, section 41 (b) , be loyal to the Constitution, the Republic and its people (d).

42 years since the Soweto uprisings, critical issue among the youth include socioeconomic challenges. Young people still struggle with getting education, which is the most important asset they should acquire. Unemployment, inequality, gender-based violence and social security; and they also experience threats and brutal attacks when they form and/or join civil society organisations, trade unions of their choice or aligning themselves with political issues and raising their concerns on maladministration in governance. And until these issues are addressed and protection provided for the youth, they remain disempowered and demotivated to become the forces of change and development in this country.  This generation of youth stands at the border-line of oppression and transformation, and until their social and economic needs are fulfilled then the transformation and reconstruction will not be sustained. The task of improving young people’s lives in the rural areas, townships, informal settlements must remain a collective commitment by all in South Africa, including state institutions, communities, corporations, traditional and religious sectors. Young people in townships, informal settlements and rural communities still live in inhuman and degrading conditions that defy description. Issues of crime, drug abuse and scourge of violence are what young people deal with on a daily basis in disadvantaged communities; and these are people that need to be prioritised on better living conditions if they are to shape the future of this country. Informal settlements such as Zandspruit and Diepsloot in North of Johannesburg, Tshepisong location in the West Rand continue to face a myriad social and economic challenges; and the most significant issues in informal settlements are abject poverty, quality health care, sanitation, sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, lack of skills, access to capital and social security. National institutions such as Chapter 9 Institutions, NYDA, SALGA, Department of Women, Department of Social Development need to find multidimensional strategies for sustainable measures to deal with these human and societal problems persisting amongst the youth.

 

For further discussion, contact Mamphule Ntladi

HURISA Assistant Programme Officer: mamphule@hurisa.org.za

072 836 4654

Category: press releases

SEASONS GREETINGS


SEASON’S GREETINGS

&

BEST WISHES FOR 2018!!!

HURISA BOARD of directors & STAFF WISH to EXPRESS DEEP GRATITUDE TO ALL OUR PARTNERS AND DONORS FOR SUPPORT  & FRUITFUL COLLABORATIONS IN 2017!!!

WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING TOGETHER AGAIN & TAKE HUMAN RIGHTS ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO

HIGHER LEVELS IN 2018!!!

 OUR OFFICE IS CLOSED FROM 22 DECEMBER 2017

& RE-OPENS ON 8 JANUARY 2018!!!

 

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY


Human Rights Institute of South Africa for release on
10 December 2017- International Human Rights Day*

Despite driving a human rights and anti-racism agenda, South Africa is failing to practically ensure citizens enjoy the rights reflected in our constitution and legislation Looking back since 1996, South Africa has made strides in acceding to numerous international human rights instruments that affirmed the country’s commitment to promotion and protection of human rights. There are several international processes which were South African driven and reflective of our progressive human rights values that made the people of this country very proud.

The World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, was hosted in South Africa on 31 August 2001, in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province. The conference, adopted the Durban Declaration Programme of Action. The country remains a key leader in putting forward positive strategies to the international community to combat racisms and encourage develop National Action Plans including road maps on how to address the scourge.

Despite this contribution, South Africa itself has dragged progress in this area as it is sixteen years (16yrs) since the WACAR and it still has no NAP. Racism remains a deep rooted problem notwithstanding the demise of apartheid policy. This is in spite of laws created to prevent racism such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act. The manifestation of racism in people’s daily lives is rampant.

The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action requires States to develop and implement national policies without delay to address discrimination. During South Africa’s 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, over 30 recommendations were passed by peer states after raising serious concerns about persistence of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. South Africa was urged to expedite drafting of a NAP for approval and allocation of adequate resources for proper implementation. The delay in outstanding legislation for addressing racism not only impacts negatively on the society, but contradicts South Africa’s role under the DDPA to encourage the international community to implement the NAPs for effective eradication of racism.

Beyond the issue of racism and discrimination, the third UPR cycle has also left South Africa with a total of 243 recommendations passed by peer states.
These relate to
 The existence of torture,
 Statelessness

 Disappearances,
 Discrimination, poverty, inequality
 Sexual and gender based violence,

 Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance;
 Protection of minority rights, vulnerable groups including, migrants, LGBTI, people with albinism, people with disabilities, by acceleration of adoption of hate crime, hate speech legislation for prosecution of perpetrators.

South Africa was also encouraged to ratify key human rights instruments where ratification remains outstanding,including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, among others.

The HRC also recommended South Africa continue enhancing the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation, to ensure that all homes, health centers and educational establishments have safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. South Africa was also requested to reconsider its withdrawal from the RomeStatute of the International Criminal Court by upholding its commitment under those obligations.

South Africa has confirmed 187 recommendations were accepted and indicated that government is committed to working with CSOs and key national human rights institutions. This is a positive step considering that the first and second period reports submitted in 2008 & 2012 respectively did not follow the required standard for consultation with CSOs. The government has begun this process in engaging key stakeholders. However, the current form in which the 187 recommendations is arranged is very confusing. Should this remain it will be difficult to implement as monitoring and evaluation of outcome of the UPR is key. It is also important to assess the reasons for noting other recommendations instead of accepting the 243 recommendations. The other important consideration to be made by South Africa is the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee for
coordination of recommendations obtained from international and regional human rights treaty bodies that monitor’s implementation of human rights instruments, including ensuring South Africa’s regular and timeous submission of periodic reports.

Drawing lessons from past UPR processes and the submission of periodic reports will improve relations between government and CSOs, whose role is imperative for monitoring compliance with the UPR. It is therefore very important that the environment is conducive for functioning of CSOs. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa have passed recommendations and tools for State Parties to facilitate enabling environments for sustainability of CSOs. UN Resolution 27/31 April 2016 & ACHRP Resolutions 69, 273 are source of reference for improving accountability and ending impunity against human rights protection. South Africa should consider developing a law for promotion and protection of Human Rights Defenders. These
recommendations heightens the country’s progressive human rights framework which emphasize a duty on the state to care for the well-being of the people; as well as being effective, transparent, accountable, consistent and
loyal to people.

For more information contact Tshepo Legodi: 011 402 1103, 079 444 3171
www.hurisa.org.za
* The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. South Africa was among eight (8) countries that abstained from acknowledging this day as International Human Rights Day. It was only in 1996 that the former President Nelson Mandela recognised the UDHR.

Category: press releases

Commemoration of WHRDs


As we commemorate INTERNATIONAL WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS DAY on 29 November, Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and Tshwaranang Legal advocacy Centre (TLAC) are saddened by and deeply mourn the passing on of Beloved Friend, South African Woman Human Rights Defender, Lucrecia Seafield. Words cannot express our profound despair and sorrow. She was devoted stalwart to the struggles and work of Women Human Rights Defenders who continue to face hostilities and operate in grave violent environments for women and children. She will be painfully missed for defending the human rights of all the people indiscriminately, with exceptional integrity, virtuously and professionally in South Africa and across the globe.

She was humble, accessible especially to the Grassroot Communities, women groups, youth formations, child rights advocates, LGBTI activists, refugees and migrants. She demonstrated her passion, compassion, love and care for all people throughout her life. As a sector we have lost a dear friend and words cannot express our pain – an honest human being with a very big heart. She supported all needs of all local CSO’s and Community Based Organisations to advancement of Woman Human Rights defenders.
We Salute You Lucrecia! Your Heroisms will remain in us! We thank you for assisting the Women in South Africa the broader SADC region to push for promotion and protection of Women Peace and Security and the serious strides in pushing Agenda for consolidation of National Action Plan for promotion of Women, Peace and Security in South Africa.
May Your Soul Rest in Peace our Dear Beloved Lucrecia.Lala Kahle Lucrecia Seafield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: press releases

Comments Off on Press Release on the Implication of the Same Sex Marriage [Prohibition] Act 2013 on Human Rights Defenders in Nigeria

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Mrs Reine Alapini-Gansou, has taken note of the promulgation on 13 January 2014 in Nigeria of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, and is deeply concerned about the consequences this law may have on sexual minorities who are already vulnerable as a result of social prejudice.

The Special Rapporteur is concerned by some provisions of the Act, in particular Sections 4(1) and 5(2) which prohibit and provide for penalties against defenders of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. These provisions undermine the work of human rights defenders and are against any public debate on this crucial issue.

The Special Rapporteur is concerned by the increase, following the enactment of the law, in cases of physical violence, aggression, arbitrary detention and harassment carried out against human rights defenders dealing with sexual minority rights issues.

The Special Rapporteur strongly condemns such acts which are a violation of the right to life, physical integrity, and freedom of expression and assembly of human rights defenders.

The Special Rapporteur would like to remind the Government of Nigeria of its international obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Nigeria to ensure that human rights defenders are able to conduct their activities in an enabling environment that is free of stigma and reprisals.

The Special Rapporteur would also like to encourage the Nigerian political authorities to continue their efforts towards ensuring the physical integrity and safety of human rights defenders in Nigeria.

Banjul, 05February2014

Category: press releases