Zim Police Arrest Gay Activist

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says that police officers in Zimbabwe have arrested and charged a gay activist and questioned another for holding an illegal meeting.

ZLHR spokesperson, Kumbirai Mafunda, confirms that the police arrested Natasha Dowell, a volunteer with the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe and Tawanda Maguze, an activist at a hotel in the Avenues area.

Mafunda asserts that, Dowell was charged with breaching the public order and security law, which requires organisations to give police advance warning of public meetings.

Equal Rights Key to Thriving Societies

North West Premier, Thandi Modise, says equal rights and opportunities for women are crucial to building healthy economies and societies.
Modise’s comments come as the country joined the world in celebrating International Women's Day on Saturday, 8 March 2014.
In a press statement, Modise explains that, "Women's full and equal participation in the political and economic arena is crucial to democracy and justice, because equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.” 

SA Seeks Clarity on LGBTI Rights

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says government has noted the recent global issues on lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and intersexuals (LGBTI).

On 24 February 2014, a Zambian court reportedly freed a rights activist arrested last year for publicly advocating gay rights.

On 25 February 2014, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, signed off an anti-gay bill - which states that first-time ‘offenders’ could be jailed for up to 14 years while repeat offenders could face life imprisonment - which would see gays imprisoned.

Harare Public Toilets Unusable

Harare's public toilets are in such an appalling state that very few are still usable, with most of them being perpetually blocked.

Local authorities have been blamed for failing to maintain the few toilets whose scarcity already impacts negatively on women.

Zimbabwe has however pledged to reduce by 50 percent the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015, as defined by the Millennium Development Goals.

Zim Laws Fail to Protect Women, Girls

Women activists believe the rights of women and girls continue to be violated in Zimbabwe even though the country has the best laws designed to address gender-based violence and inequality.

The activists state that, there is little action to match the laws available to protect women who were constantly abused in homes, schools and in the workplace.

Museveni to Sign Anti-Gay Bill

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, is expected to sign a controversial anti-homosexuality bill, which Western countries have criticised and tried to stop from being signed into law.

Ugandan government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, points out that, "He [Museveni] wants to sign it with the full witness of the international media to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation."

Ugandan Gay Activist Saved from Deportation

Ugandan gay rights activist, Paul Semugoma, was almost deported to Uganda through Zimbabwe, but friends exerted pressure on the South African government to grant him a work permit.
South African immigration officials at OR Tambo International Airport detained Semugoma on his return trip from a conference in Zimbabwe, where they charged him with travelling without proper documentation.
Life partner, Brian Kanyemba, was allowed through, and immediately contacted the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) to tell them what had happened.

Partnership to Tackle Child Pornography

The Film and Publication Board, along with Google, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organisations, announced a partnership designed to create awareness of cyber safety and fight online child pornography.

The national programme, which will begin this month, will promote the safer and more responsible use of the internet and online technologies.

The programme kicked off at Jules High School in Johannesburg, a school which made headlines in 2010 because of a sex-video scandal involving three pupils.

Part of the Sexual Offences Act Unconstitutional

The Western Cape (WC) High Court has declared section 50(2) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (Sexual Offences Act) unconstitutional.

The applicant, who admitted to raping three minor children while he himself was still a minor, was sentenced in terms of the Child Justice Act and his name was entered into the National Register for Sexual Offenders in terms of section 50(2) of the Act.

Nigeria’s Homophobic Laws Criticised

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) urges South Africa to add its voice to calls for Nigeria to review its homophobic legislation.

SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, states that, "Since 18 January [2014], dozens of people have already been arrested in Nigeria in terms of the new law."

Mangena further adds that, the South African government should seek to exert influence over other African countries to follow good human rights practices.


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