Category Archives: Human Rights

SOUTH AFRICAN CHAMBER OF MINES DETERMINED TO HAVE MINING CHARTER REDRAFTED

CAPE TOWN–The South African Chamber of Mines says it will not withdraw its court case against the Department of Mineral Resources even if a new Minister is appointed to lead the department.

It said here Tuesday that it is not satisfied with the revised Mining Charter and demands that the whole thing needs to be scrapped and redrafted.

Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Roger Baxter and his team was briefing the media here on the legal challenge of the Mining Charter at the Africa Mining Indaba being held this week in Cape Town.

The Chamber says it has also written to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the matter.

This mining charter that was put by the minister, we made it clear that this mining charter does not drive transformation but it drives the interest of a few,” said the Chamber’s Senior Executive for Public Affairs and Transformation, Tebello Chabana.

“We have said ‘No, we want a different charter’. We are pro-transformation. If you look at how we have complied in the first and second Mining Charter and we have demonstrated as an industry that we are willing to transform.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SUSPENDED SOUTH AFRICAN GOVT MENTAL HEALTH OFFICIAL IN LIFE ESIDIMENI TRAGEDY RESIGNS

JOHANNESBURG, The suspended Mental Health Director of South African’s Gauteng Province, Dr Makgabo Manamela, has resigned, one day after the resignation of the Head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Barney Selebano.

Dr Manamela was undergoing a disciplinary process after she was charged with gross misconduct for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which 143 mentally ill patients died after they were transferred to unlicensed and ill-equipped non-governmental organizations after they were taken out of facilities operated by healthcare service provider Life Esidimeni, whose contract was terminated in order to cut costs.

I can confirm that Dr Manamela who was the director of mental health has resigned. She was on suspension and undergoing a disciplinary process. Since she is no longer an employee of the Gauteng provincial government we will not be proceeding with the disciplinary hearing, the spokesperson for the Gauteng provincial government, Thabo Masebe, said here Wednesday.

The main South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says Manamela must face criminal charges for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. The party’s Gauteng health shadow Member of the Executive Council (MEC), Jack Bloom, says her resignation is not surprising as she would have been fired anyway after the conclusion of her disciplinary proceedings.

Bloom says justice has not been served by her resigning. I think that is a good thing that she has resigned because she was still being paid well while on suspension. But of course she should also be charged along with other officials and the former MEC for Health for her role in the Esidimeni disaster. I think she saw the writing in the wall. She was going to get fired and now the department can hire a new person in charge of the mental health which is vitally important.

Another leading opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also welcomed the resignation of Dr Manamela. Acting EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego said: We are elated when incompetent individuals resign on their own. But the resignation is not enough and this is an issue that we are going to take on.

“We know that the State of the Province Address is coming up next month and we are preparing for that in terms of what we think the government should be doing better. This department, health,was given an increase of 1.2 billion Rand (about 97.4 million US dollars), what is happening with all that money? So the government is essentially incompetent. So we are happy that that lady has left, the HOD (Head of Department) should leave, the MEC is gone already and there are many others that should follow.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

South Sudan Communities Receiving Regular Aid in Previously Inaccessible Areas

For over a month, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been able to provide consistent primary health care in Greater Baggari, South Sudan, which is an area south of Wau town that had been cut off from assistance for over a year. Improved access in recent months has enabled IOM to reach people living further south with lifesaving assistance.

Only weeks after the crisis erupted in June 2016, humanitarian access to Baggari � an hour’s drive from Wau town � was restricted. Displaced people and host communities were cut off from both relief aid and markets. In the months that followed, frequent insecurity further forced many people to flee to harder to reach areas, deeper into the bush.

As part of a multi-agency effort, IOM regained access to the area in August 2017 and conducted a distribution of shelter and relief items. Although additional impediments continued to make access difficult in the weeks that followed, IOM and other relief agencies have had consistent access to the area since October.

Due to restricted access and constraints on livelihoods, food insecurity and malnutrition in Baggari are among the highest in all of South Sudan. In response to dire needs, IOM opened a clinic in Farajallah, Greater Baggari, on 11 December and hired five people from the community to operate it. IOM’s Wau-based medical team visits the clinic once a week to refill supplies and vaccines, maintain the cold chain and provide capacity-building and technical expertise.

Many people are arriving at the clinic exhausted and dehydrated, some walking as long as four hours from remote areas, like Congoulesi,rdquo; explained Dr. Mary Alai, an IOM Migration Health Officer based in Wau. As access continues to open, we plan to conduct outreach missions to reach further into these remote areas to offer these much-needed services. Consistent access is critical to prevent a further deterioration of health conditions.rdquo;

Since December 2017, the clinic has conducted over 970 consultations and seen an increase in the number of consultations as information of the clinic’s presence reaches communities living in remote areas.

In addition to health and shelter assistance, IOM conducted a four-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) intervention in November last year to repair boreholes, conduct hygiene promotion and form water management committees. In the coming weeks, IOM will conduct further needs assessments in Baggari and continue providing much-needed aid.

An estimated 40,500 people remain in displacement sites in Wau town, in addition to those in remote areas. Although some families have begun returning home, concerns regarding security conditions continue to inhibit many people from leaving displacement sites, according to anintentions surveyconducted by IOM last December.

Since June 2016, IOM has offered multi-sector humanitarian assistance to the affected population in Wau with support from the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Government of Japan, the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Canada and the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF).

Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Somaliland Parliament Passes First Bill Criminalizing Rape

WASHINGTON / HARGEISA The parliament in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has approved a bill criminalizing rape for the first time, and requiring prison terms for individuals convicted of the crime.

The bill, passed Saturday, is the first of its kind in Somaliland criminalizing not only rape but all gender-based violations against women. It lays out a process to investigate the cases and prosecute perpetrators.

The bill now goes to the upper house of parliament and could be the first major legislation signed by President Muse Bihi Abdi who was elected in November.

Women’s organizations and human rights activists in Somaliland welcomed the passage of the bill, which was approved by 46 of the 51 MPs present.

Among those praising the parliamentary approval was Nafisa Yusuf Mohamed, the executive director of Nagaad, a women’s organization based in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

We have been working on this bill since 2011. It has gone through different processes, but we are very happy that it has been adopted, she told VOA Somali. The people of Somaliland have welcomed it, we congratulate the parliament for discharging their duties.

Under the bill, an attempted rape conviction would carry a four to seven-year jail sentence. An individual who rapes a victim using force or threats would get 15 to 20 years. If the victim is under the age of 15, the perpetrator gets 20 to 25 years.

Attackers who cause bodily harm or infect their victim with HIV in addition to committing rape would receive life in prison.

An increasing number of reported rape cases are related to gang rape. Gang rape was not mentioned in the existing penal code, but the new bill has a specific provision for gang rape which carries 20 to 25 years imprisonment.

Recently, the Somaliland Human Rights Center said rape is one of the least reported crimes in Somaliland. It said that in 2017, 81 rape cases were prosecuted, a small number compared to the number of alleged victims.

No more mediation by elders

In the past, elders have mediated between the families of the rapist and the victim, often leading to a lack of justice for the victim. In few cases, a victim ended up marrying her rapist under pressure from her family or the elders.

Mohamed Hersi Farah is an elder who performed mediations but says he stopped it in 2006.

Before we intervened in individual cases and we dealt with clans, and there were no laws. But now there are gang rapes with more than 10 people involved [in a case]. We didn’t know where to start, Farah said.

The new bill criminalizes mediation and other attempts to solve rape cases outside the courts.

Anyone who attempts or mediate a rape case in this way could go to jail. We hope this will scare those who performed this outside the court who will now realize the government will jail them,” says the chairman of the human rights center, lawyer Guled Ahmed Jama.

Jama says he welcomes the fact the bill specifically focuses on rape and gender based violations and empowers law enforcement agencies powers to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

This is a modern bill specifically on rape, previously rape was just an article under the penal code; this is a comprehensive bill, he said.

Somaliland declared secession from rest of Somalia in May 1991 but so far failed to gain international recognition.

Source: Voice of America

International Organization for Migration Supports Construction of Protective Shelter for Vulnerable Migrants in Zambia

IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Government of Zambia are supporting the construction of a protective shelter in the country’s border district of Sesheke to offer a place of safety for vulnerable migrants, particularly women and children, and ultimately ensure that they avoid unnecessary detention.

The shelter will receive referrals of vulnerable migrants and provide them with other much needed services, including healthcare, with a view to finding lasting solutions which may include return to the migrants’ country or place of origin.

Sesheke District, a border town between Zambia and Namibia, is both a source and transit district for migrants moving in what are known as mixedrdquo; flows. These include victims of human trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as irregular migrants, many of whom need protective support.

Government will endeavour to provide adequate protection services to vulnerable migrants as they are a marginalised group; we need to protect them and ensure their rights are protected and they have access to adequate protection services,rdquo; said Emerine Kabanshi, Minster of Community Development and Social Welfare, during the ground-breaking ceremony of the protective shelter in Sesheke last week (04/01).

The border district presents migration dynamics which are exacerbated by high poverty levels and unemployment, which are ion turn linked to environmental factors such as irregular rainfall patterns.

These harsh realities have forced many Zambians to move to other parts of the country, as well as across borders into neighbouring countries in search of opportunity and a better life. Some, invariably, end up being exploited.

The district also lacks adequate mechanisms for the identification and referral of vulnerable migrants to appropriate services. Coordination among actors is not very strong and many vulnerable migrants, including children, end up in detention facilities due to a lack of available protective services, including shelter.

During the ceremony, the Minister also launched the Zambia Communication Strategy on Mixed Migration and Human Trafficking. Themed Know Before You Gordquo;, it is designed to ensure that migrants, or potential migrants, possess relevant information and documentation prior to making their move, regardless of intent.

Prevention of human trafficking requires knowledge and understanding of the trafficking dynamics but among communities of the potential dangers and strategies to migrate safely. In short: Know Before You Go!,rdquo; said IOM Zambia Chief of Mission Marianne Lane.

Lane also echoed the words of the IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing, who said: Migration is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be managed; moreover, migration is inevitable and desirable, if well managed.rdquo;

The project is financially supported by the US State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration (PRM) and Irish Aid, DFID and the Governments of Sweden and Finland s part of their support to the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection (which combines efforts by the ILO, IOM, FAO, WFP and UNICEF).

Source:International Office of Migration (IOM).