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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

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

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
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Sexual Exploitation and Harassment Also Widespread in Secondary Schools

A hard-hitting BBC television documentary, Sex for Grades, has uncovered rampant sexual abuse, harassment, and bullying of students at two prestigious universities in Nigeria and Ghana, and launched what will hopefully be a new movement.   …
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
News

South Africa’s Solution Needs to be Rooted in Respect for the Right to Water

Cape Town, South Africa has been plunged into a water crisis, and in about two months – a date known as Day Zero – the city will run out of water, and supplies to most suburbs will be cut off. Rationing will begin at 200 places across the city with…
Residents walk past a leaking communal tap in Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, South Africa, December 12, 2017.
News

Government Should Make Education Free for All

A group of courageous moms of children with disabilities in Johannesburg has seized the run-up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 to launch a petition that calls upon South Africa’s Department of Basic Education to remove…
An estimated half-a-million children with disabilities have been shut out of South Africa’s education system, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today at a joint event with South Africa’s Human Rights Commission.
News

Students With Disabilities Unsafe on the Way to School, in Classroom

The video is distressing: A 16-year-old girl with multiple disabilities cowering in her bus seat as she is struck repeatedly by her caregiver. Seconds later the driver appears and drags the girl violently off the bus, dumping her onto…
School children waiting to board their school transportation.
News

Government Should Ensure Program Benefits Poorest and Rural Students

On September 12, Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo made good on his campaign promise to deliver free secondary education for children across the country. The President pledged “there will be no admission fees, no library fees…
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News

Roma Afflicted with Lead Poisoning in UN-Run Camps

The United Nations may be undermining its own efforts to promote human rights, at a time when rights are under threat worldwide. That’s the view of a UN panel of experts, which investigated complaints of human rights violations by…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine, on the outskirts of Mitrovica, June 22, 2009.
News

Mercury Treaty to Enter Into Force

The fight against global toxic pollution has reached a critical milestone: the 50th country has ratified the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, triggering its entry into force in August. Mercury is a shiny liquid…
A 12-year-old boy shows the mercury he carries in his trousers’ pockets for gold processing in Homase, Amansie Central district, Ashanti Region, Ghana.
News

Human Rights Council Members Should Ask South Africa About Children With Disabilities

More than 600,000 children with disabilities are out of school in South Africa. In a country that has claimed to have achieved universal basic education, children with disabilities experience systemic barriers and discrimination on a daily basis. These…
Drawing of a female student holding a placard that says “I want to learn” found in Boitumelo Special School in Kimberley, South Africa.
News

Body Ignores Own Advice to Give Clear Apology for Tragedy that was UN’s Fault

It looked like justice for Kosovo’s lead-poisoning victims was finally within reach. Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson convened a meeting in December 2016, just as he and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were preparing to hand the…
News

Hefty Fees and Additional Costs Discriminate Against Children with Disabilities

No child should be denied their right to learn because of poverty. Two years ago, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which states that primary education should be free and compulsory for all, came into force in South…
south african children
News

Toxic Metal Used in Small-Scale Gold Mining Especially Harmful to Children

People living in Ghana’s mining communities may now be better protected from deadly mercury poisoning. On March 23, Ghana ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury – a real step forward for communities affected by mercury pollution. Mercury, a…
News

Government Should Tackle Discrimination and Exclusion Against Children With Disabilities

This month marks the start of a new school year in South Africa, but many children with disabilities won’t be attending class with their peers. Parents have been told that their children cannot go to mainstream schools, but at the same time many have been…
Rito, 8, lives in Diepsloot, Gauteng Province.
News

The Government Should Guarantee Their Equal Right to Education

A top South African official spoke in glowing terms earlier this week about the country’s successes in ensuring children with disabilities have the same opportunities as other children when it’s time to go to school. …
south african children