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In November, SA took two steps on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. One is designed to protect LGBT people domestically, the other seeks to undermine their protection internationally. It is a familiar good cop, bad cop scenario, but SA…
A drag queen participates in Durban Pride in Durban, South Africa, July 30, 2011.
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South Africa’s inexplicable support for a regressive resolution at the UN Human Rights Council brings into question its commitment to gender equality and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. A controversial “protection of…
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South Africa’s international record on human rights is faltering. While the country is a strong supporter of combating racism and poverty, it is unwilling to hold other countries to account for their own human rights violations. The 26th session of the…
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Oral Statement Under Item 6

Human Rights Watch welcomes the UPR report on South Africa, which includes important recommendations concerning South Africa’s full compliance with international human rights law, the progressive realization of economic and social rights, protecting…
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Will history repeat itself at the UN Security Council?

Will history repeat itself at the United Nations (UN) Security Council? The last time South Africa was called to vote on a resolution on Syria, on October 4 last year, it chose to abstain, along with India and Brazil. By doing so, the South African…
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Dr. Eddie Mhlanga, South Africa’s chief director of maternal and women’s health, has movingly written about how he, as a conservative Christian, changed his mind on whether abortion should be a crime. When he was a young doctor, a colleague died in his…
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Human Rights Council Passes First-Ever Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

(Geneva) - In a groundbreaking achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender…
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Civil Society Letter to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of African ICC States Parties on the UN Security Council

Sent March 1, 2011 Your Excellencies, We, the undersigned organizations, urge your government to reconsider support for a United Nations Security Council deferral of investigations and prosecutions of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Kenya…
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This country uniquely placed to call ayatollahs to account

In our new, multi-polar world, much has been written about South Africa's role not only as a regional power and deal-broker but also as a leading player in the global south. In the Middle East, South Africa has used its voice to speak up about Israeli…
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Supporters of human rights around the world watched in joy 14 years ago as apartheid ended and a new era of democratic governance began in South Africa. But many of us are now watching in dismay as the country's foreign policy often aligns with global…
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US Abstains in Support of ICC Case Against Sudan’s President

(New York)- The Security Council's renewal of the mandate for peacekeepers in Darfur without delaying legal proceedings against Sudan's president reaffirms a commitment to justice and security for Sudanese civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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Universal Periodic Review of South Africa

South Africa’s human rights record will be scrutinized on April 15, 2008 by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva at a Universal Periodic Review Session that is likely to focus on abuses around HIV infections, sexual violence, and asylum procedures. Under…
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Will Assess India, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and 12 Others

(Geneva) – The UN Human Rights Council will begin a new review process on April 7, 2008. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the most innovative and ambitious instrument of the council and was set up to assess the human rights performance of all 192 UN…
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Human Rights Watch's Submission to the Human Rights Council

Emerging from a history of institutionalized racial inequality, South Africa has made admirable progress in transforming the state and society to ensure respect for fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, an independent judiciary, and free…
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Use Security Council Presidency to Save Lives

(New York) - South Africa should use its Security Council presidency in April 2008 to make significant progress on human rights crises in Somalia, Darfur and Burma, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to South Africa’s minister of foreign affairs,…