South Africa 20 years in the (OAU) African Union

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Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and Southern Africa Trust (SAT)

South Africa 20 years in the (OAU) African Union 

We over 90 Participants Representative made of, Human Rights Defenders, Activist and Various Civil Society leaders gathered at the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and State Of The Union Coalition (SOTU) event commemorating South Africa’s 20 years of freedom, human rights and democracy and the launch of the State of the Union Coalition Report on South Africa’s Compliance with the AU Instruments, including engaging the South African State officials and representatives from Chapter Nine Institutions to reflect on South Africa’s compliance with its AU commitments, on 20-21 May 2014, Constitutional Hill, Braamfontein.

We pledge our solidarity support to the “Bring Back Our Girls” Campaign and implore the AU States to double strength efforts to protect African citizens against militias, terrorist attacks engulfing countries of the region and call for robust actions to find the over 270 Nigerian Young Girls and bring them back home in peace.

We acknowledge the milestone achievements made by South Africa in the advancement of the African legal architecture and noted carefully the government’s commitment to build a culture of human rights, through ratification of the AU Instruments, including the fourteen (14) AU Instruments prioritised by the State of the Union Coalition.

We are deeply concerned about South Africa’s lack of compliance with its African Union obligations to popularise all AU mechanisms as all these remain unknown by the majority of the population of South Africa. The Government has made little progress with regard to implementation, in particular, the African Union Charter on Democracy Election and Governance was not complied with or considered before and during the 2014 election to manage political intolerance and service delivery protests;

We further note with concern South Africa’s inaction to promote access to justice by failure to make Article 34 (6) Declaration to allow individuals direct access to the African Court;

We are alarmed about the failure to implement the Africa Mining Vision (MVA) to protect the mining community against the flagrant violation of their labour rights by the multinationals and private sector.

Commending the government for championing the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural and Development Programme (CAADP) which expires in 2015, however we express our disappointment with the slow pace to sign the Compact agreement in which a plan of action committing the government to eliminate hunger, reduce poverty and food insecurity affecting many people in South Africa.

We are alarmed by South Africa’s long overdue periodic reports, despite the civil society urging the Government to submit all its outstanding periodic reports on the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. We remain concerned about the lack of progress to address the Youth’s dilemma experienced in high unemployment, teenage pregnancy, poverty, rampant use of tobacco and substances which causes TB, lung cancer and inequality as espoused by the African Youth Charter

We further commend the South African Government for crafting ten (10) pieces of legislation to protect nature, and natural resources as stipulated under the Revised Africa Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (RACCNNR) before this AU Instrument entered into force.

We are concerned with the high level of Police brutality, resulting in the increased killings and injuries sustained by innocent people in South Africa especially, during service delivery protests, since the inception of freedom and democracy in 1993. Regulations of Gathering Act the instrument adopted to effect gatherings is not properly implemented and there’s a huge contradiction with the Constitutional provisions promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression, association, assembly, demonstration, picketing and presentation of petitions.

We are also concern about the delays in the following,

  • Implementation of the human rights education which has been incorporated in the schools curricular, as well as and domestication of African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to end torture, and harmful traditional practices
  • Ending of informal settlement as deadline to do so in 2014,
  • Ending of pit toilet, bucket toilet system by 2010
  • Inequality in funding of political parties including lack of promoting transparency and obligation to disclose, as well as respect the autonomy of the Civil Society Organisations and Human Rights Defenders,
  • Implementation of Maputo Protocol to address the pervasive gender based violence, rape and brutal murder of women
  • Weak parliamentary debates, including of appointment of unskilled and unqualified public servants,
  • Human Rights Education including, awareness raising, sensitisation of police, civil society, trade unions, youth, political parties, NHRIs and others sectors about AU human rights Instruments as well as repeal of laws that perpetuate stereotypes, inequality against women, stigma and patriarchy in the society
  • Civic education to the media, access to information, and use of the ACHPR Model Law, especially for people living in rural area, people with disabilities
  • Equal treatment and respect of Traditional Institutions recognised by communities
  • Use of Local Observers and SADC Mission in national elections

We call upon the Government:

–          To take all necessary steps to implement its regional and constitutional obligations, in particular to submit the periodic report under the ACHPR and the Maputo Protocol, and to sign the Compact for full implementation of CAADP;

–          To take all necessary steps to make Article 34 (6) Declaration to allow individual access to the African Court;

–          End pit toilet, pit toilet as deadline has passed to do so by 2010

–          End Informal Settlement by 2015

–          To recognise CSOs as a catalyst that monitors governance issue and human rights accountability in the country ;

–          To foster human rights and civic education, particularly by ensuring that the human rights curriculum at schools is effectively applied ,

–          Incorporate human rights provisions in the RGA

–          Enact law for promotion and protection of HRDs and ensure marches, protests, demonstrations public participation are fulfilled, respected, promoted and protected

–          To improve public sector management, employment of skilled competent official, to expedite service delivery

–          Obligation of political parties to comply with legislative obligations,

–          Respect of the autonomy of NHRI to function fearlessly, without favour, impartially and without prejudice especially the Public Protector

–          South Africa advocated – AU – SADC Level

Thus done on 21 May 2014

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