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Improve Shelter Funding; Increase Access for Sex Workers, LGBT, Undocumented Survivors

(Johannesburg) – The South African government has taken important steps but did not provide adequate funding for shelters and other services for gender-based violence survivors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many survivors have been made more…
General view during the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) protest march organized by the Office of The Premier in collaboration with Phepha Foundation on April 26, 2021 in Durban, South Africa.
News

Investigate Fikile Ntshangase’s Murder and Hold Killers Responsible

One year ago Fikile Ntshangase, an environmental activist from South Africa, 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. Today, members of her…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
News

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
News

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
News

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

Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalized

How did you find sex workers willing to talk about their work despite it being illegal in South Africa? It’s very difficult to gain sex workers’ trust without connections to people already actively supporting sex workers. For one, because their…
Sex workers wearing masks lead a march to mark International Sex Workers Rights Day in Johannesburg March 3, 2011
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Community activists in mining areas face harassment, intimidation, and violence, the Centre for Environmental Rights, groundWork, Earthjustice, and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today. The attacks and harassment have created an…
News

Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
News

Landmark Rulings Protect Women and Communities Affected by Mining Companies

South Africa’s highest court has delivered two landmark decisions protecting women’s rights to equality and land ownership, as well as the rights of communities living in mining areas. The latest ruling ensured that an older…
Xolobeni community members and environmental activists march and chant slogans in front of South Africa's Pretoria High Court, April 24, 2018.
News
The South African Human Rights Commission has released a scathing report on the damage mining in the country is posing to human rights. The conclusion paints a dark picture: "[T]he mining sector is riddled with challenges related to land,…
News
It’s an occupational hazard when you work on women’s rights, to routinely face women who have been subjected to unspeakable violence, horrible beyond anything you could imagine.  As a young lawyer in South Africa in the 1990s, one of first my clients was…
News
Nomsa, a 20-year-old woman from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, showed me a scar on her thigh. She said it came from a wound inflicted by a nurse at a community health centre in 2010. The nurse, Nomsa said, used a pair of scissors "to make me open my legs…
News
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a simple but profound message in her United­ Nations speech in Geneva last week. Her message: human rights are indivisible and governments cannot selectively withhold rights. “Because we are human…
Report
“We’ll Show You You’re a Woman” Violence and Discrimination against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men in South Africa Glossary Map of South Africa…
News

Violence, Discrimination Against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men

(Johannesburg) – Black lesbians and transgender men in South African townships and rural areas face an overwhelming climate of discrimination and violence despite protections promised them in the country’s constitution, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
News
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…
News
This week, different groups around the world are observing World AIDS Day and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 1 and 3 respectively. Rarely have the two been observed together. At least until this year. Events hosted at UN…
News
You would think that, with its vibrant diamond trade, South Africa would be first in line to prevent the smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe. Instead, South Africa has played a more equivocal role with its neighbour. The result is that South Africa is at…
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