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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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Security Forces Should Observe International Law Enforcement Standards

(Johannesburg) – South African authorities should ensure that security forces deployed to police escalating riots and looting respect rights and observe international law enforcement standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The riots, which are…
A man suspected of looting is arrested at a shopping mall in Soweto, near Johannesburg, Tuesday July 13, 2021.
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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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RE: Challenges to Implementation of GCM Objectives #4, 10, 13, 15, 17, 21 in Cameroon, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, December 2018 – June 2021

Contents: I. Introduction II. Human trafficking (Nigeria, Senegal) III. Migrant detention (Mauritania, South Africa) IV. Migrant returns (Cameroon, Mauritania, Tanzania) V. Discrimination, xenophobia, access to services and documentation (South…
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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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To the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the challenges and risks facing climate defenders for the upcoming report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. While recognizing that…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
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Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
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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

Draft Official Identity Management Policy

Introduction Human Rights Watch is an independent non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting and defending human rights around the world, including those related to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI)…
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Investigate Mama Fikile’s Murder and Bring Those Responsible to Justice

It is almost five months since an environmental activist, Mama Fikile Ntshangase, was gunned down in her home in Somkhele in KwaZulu-Natal province, after raising concerns about a coal mine in the area. No arrests have been made. Mama Fikile had received…
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Punish Officers Responsible; Improve Training; Halt Use of Rubber Bullets

(Johannesburg) – The South African police unlawfully used excessive and disproportionate force to disperse student protesters at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on March 10, 2021, killing a bystander, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Three protesters were arrested and taken to the Hillbrow police station on Wednesday.
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The Zimbabwe government’s plans to evict 13,840 Indigenous Shanganipeople from their communal land in Chilonga, Chiredzi district, southeastern Zimbabwe is problematic for many reasons, not least for its failure to uphold human rights. On…
people. gathered. outside. chilonga.
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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. 
News

Governments Should Urgently Tackle Education-Related Abuses

(London) – Governments around the world should urgently step up efforts to ensure students’ safety at school and in online spaces, Human Rights Watch said today on the first International Day against Violence and Bullying at School Including…
201905crd_lebanon_illustration6
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Environmental activist Fikile Ntshangase was killed after her refusal to withdraw legal challenges to existing and future mining operations. While shocking, the killing of environmental activist Fikile Ntshangase is not surprising. …
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
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  When I met a Zimbabwean truck driver, Tinei Takawira, in Durban last year, he was recovering from life-threatening injuries. He told me that on 25 March 2019, a man who was part of a protesting group of locals knifed him in the stomach, in…
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The European Court of Human Rights found on 19 September that Finland violated its positive duty to protect the right to life of nine students and a teacher in a mass shooting at their vocational institute. It is only the second time that the court…
School #1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. 2004.