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“Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them”

Women’s Month in South Africa is celebrated in August. It commemorates the significant role held by women in South African society and celebrates the accomplishments of the 20,000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in August of 1956. The march…
A memorial sign surrounded with ribbons and flowers
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Policing Sportswomen’s Bodies Undermines Rights of Women and Girls

This week, at a ceremony hosting the Tanzania men’s football team, President Samia Suluhu made remarks that cast aspersions on the “femininity” and gender of Tanzanian women footballers. Her comments have received widespread condemnation from women…
Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks during a tour of the Tanga region of Tanzania on March 16, 2021. 
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Authorities Backsliding on Rights Reforms

On Wednesday morning, police in Mwanza, in northern Tanzania, surrounded the hotel occupied by members of the country’s main opposition party, Chadema, and arrested 11 party members, including the party chairman, Freeman Mbowe. While the other party…
Tanzania Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe (center) arrives at the party's headquarters after being released from Segerea prison in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 13, 2020.
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Sentencing of Former President Sends Clear Message That No One Is Above the Law

Just before midnight last night, South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, reported to a prison facility in his home province KwaZulu Natal to comply with an incarceration order handed down by the Constitutional Court on June 29. The court had…
Former South Africa President, Jacob Zuma sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on November 30, 2018, charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering. 
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President Suluhu Should Support Education of Pregnant Girls

Tanzania’s first woman president, Samia Suluhu, took office in March 2021. Her administration has the opportunity to call on education authorities to end the exclusion of pregnant and married girls from public schools. She should urge them to adopt a…
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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Environmental Groups Hope Case Will Force Government Action on Emissions

When you approach the town of Secunda in the coal-rich province of Mpumalanga in eastern South Africa, the toxic smell of air emanating from the cluster of coal-fired power stations hits you long-before before you see the town. I spent last week in…
Fence line communities near Duvha Power Station, Mpumalanga, South Africa. 
News

Institutional Violence by Security Forces Recalls Apartheid Abuses

Police brutality has been a part of the South African experience since colonialism. Infamous incidents, such as the shootings which resulted in the death of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976 and the brutal police assaults that led to…
Protesters run for cover as they clash with police at Eldorado Park police station in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 27, 2020. 
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Inclusive, Non-Discriminatory Approach Needed to Curb Pandemic

As South Africa received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that his government aims “to make the vaccine available to all adults living in South Africa, regardless of their citizenship or residence…
Volunteers wait to be checked at a vaccine trial facility set at Soweto's Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg, South Africa, November 30, 2020. 
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Tito Magoti and His Friend Arbitrarily Detained

This Sunday marks one year since police in Dar es Salaam arrested Tanzanian human rights activist Tito Magoti and his friend Theodory Giyani in violation of their basic rights. On December 20, 2019, police lured Magoti to a meeting through phone…
Tito Magoti and Theodory Giyani attend a court hearing in Dar es Salaam on December 24, 2019.
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Human Rights Abuses Under ZANU-PF Have Soared During Country’s Crisis

A high-level delegation from South Africa has been dispatched to Zimbabwe to try to find a solution to the country’s escalating economic and political crisis. The team, led by the head of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) party…
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the media at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 17, 2020.
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Swiss Court Upholds Regulations Biased Against Women Athletes

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ruled that sport regulations that violate women’s rights cannot be struck down as inconsistent with Swiss public policy, dealing a blow to the rights of all women athletes. The court came to this conclusion…
South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic, an IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, in Stanford, California, June 30, 2019.
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Homelessness Increases Risk for Covid-19 Spread

South Africa has been hit hard by the pandemic, with the fifth-highest number of cases – 625,059 as of 30 August – in the world. Yet despite a federal ban on evictions, the country’s local governments are evicting people from homes built on public…
A South Africa soldier guards the entrance of a housing development while flats are being emptied in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday Aug. 12, 2020.
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Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
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Latest in Restrictions on Political and Civil Rights

Tanzania’s parliament has fast-tracked a legal amendment that threatens to severely restrict the capacity of independent rights groups to challenge laws, practices, or policies they believe violate fundamental human rights. On June 10, Parliament…
View of the chamber of the National Parliament of Tanzania. 
News

Remembering the Soweto Uprising Amid New Calls for Reform

Hector Pieterson was a 12-year old schoolboy in Soweto on June 16, 1976. That morning he joined several thousand other youths in a march denouncing apartheid education policies. By the afternoon, the image of Hector’s lifeless body, cradled in the…
FILE: A South African youth holds a placard during the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the uprisings in Soweto, South Africa, Friday, June 16, 2006.
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On Human Rights Day, End Abuses Against Asylum Seekers

Today the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day, in remembrance of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, when apartheid police killed 69 people protesting…
A woman waves a South African flag as she attends Freedom Day celebrations in Kwa-Thema Township, near Johannesburg
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Ruling Party Threatens Opposition Politician for Dissenting Views

Members of Tanzania’s ruling party have lashed out at a senior opposition politician, Zitto Kabwe, for his criticism of a controversial US$500 million World Bank education loan. On January 30, the World Bank board of…
Zitto Kabwe
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Rights Groups Urge UN, AU to Intervene on Behalf of Tito Magoti

  The United Nations and the African Union have been urged to intervene on behalf of Tito Magoti, a Tanzanian human rights activist, who was arrested on…
Tanzanian human rights activist Tito Magoti speaks during an event in Dodoma, Tanzania on November 6, 2019 © 2019 Sipa Michael Mallya
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Court of Appeal Upholds 2016 Ruling Barring Marriage Before 18

Girls and boys in Tanzania have cause to celebrate: child marriage is now illegal in the country. Tanzania’s Marriage Act of 1971 sets the minimum marriage age for girls at 15 with parental consent, and 18 for boys. It…