The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has described the attack on an Eastern Cape journalist as horrifying.
In a press statement, SANEF points out that, “This comes after a spate of worrying attacks on journalists who were reporting on strikes in the Western Cape in recent weeks, and the intimidation of a reporter covering a protest at the University of Fort Hare by a policeman on duty there."
It says together, these incidents indicate an uncalled-for hostility towards the media and journalists, who are carrying out their professional duties in keeping the public informed.
To read the article titled, “SANEF horrified by attack on journalist,” click here.Source:News24
In commemoration of International Sex Worker Rights Day, sex workers and human rights activists have taken to the streets to protest the continued abuse sex workers experience at the hands of the police.
They will be also protesting against the criminal justice system's failure to prosecute the perpetrators.
Approximately 70 percent of sex workers experienced abuse at the hands of police according to a study by the Women's Legal Centre (WLC).
To read the article titled, “Sex workers march to call an end to police abuse,” click here.Source:Sowetan
Three independent human rights experts have expressed alarm that the increase in attacks against civil society in Zimbabwe coincide with the announcement that 16 March 2013 is the date for the referendum on the constitution.
The three are United Nations Special Rapporteurs and they have urged Zimbabwe's government to respect international human rights norms, including freedom of expression and association and that of peaceful assembly.
They say they have received increasing numbers of reports of intimidation, violence and arrests, particularly against civil society and those working on human rights issues.
To read an article titled, “UN rapporteurs urge Zim government to respect human rights,” click here.Source:All Africa
On 14 March 2013, Zambia will undergo the second phase of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) review of its fulfilment of international human rights obligations and commitments.
However, given the deteriorating human rights environment in that country, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come together to lobby government to fulfill its obligations.
They content that, today Zambia is among the countries that still face numerous challenges in human rights, including; torture, official impunity, life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and prolonged pre-trial detention, long trial delays, restrictions on freedom of speech, among others.
To read the article titled, “NGOs worried about situation ahead of Zambia’s human rights review by UN,” click here.Source:Zambian Watchdog
The Department of Basic Education and LEAD SA have announced a major initiative to raise rape awareness and educate the 10.2 million learners in South African schools.
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, points out that, “The collective rage in the country had to be turned into tangible action.”
Minister Motshekga appeals to learners to report any form of abuse from anyone to the authorities.
To read the article titled, “iSchoolAfrica takes the StopRape campaign to school,” click here.Source:Times Live
- Swazi women may have celebrated too soon when the country ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development in September 2012, a regional instrument that commits all countries in the region to attain gender equality. This follows a ‘ban’ that women must not wear mini-skirts as stipulated in the Crimes Act of 1889. The Act outlaws ‘immorality and offences in public places or places of public resort and control of places of public interest’. Mini-skirts are considered indecent, a clear infringement on women's right to freedom of dressing.
Like most fashion trends, the mini-skirt has been around for donkey-years. The evolving nature of fashion is so interesting - platform shoes, maxi dresses, mini-skirts, afros and colour blocking are just a few of the trends that my mother experienced as a young woman. These same trends are back on the fashion market and making many young women gush.
However, the humble mini-skirt has caused quite a stir over the past two months in Swaziland.
It is alleged that taxi drivers and their ilk at Manzini Bus Rank once in a while pounce on women dressed in a manner that they deem unacceptable. The Manzini Bus Rank ‘attacks’ are time-old and in one extreme case, a group of men sexually violated a young woman for being ‘indecently dressed’.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Swaziland Young Women's Network took to the streets dressed in mini-skirts to demand that women be allowed to dress as they please. As the young women shouted ‘enough is enough’, the perpetrators of violence taunted them. They maintained that they would not change their ways and surprisingly, they got support from the police.
The police cited the Crime Act that mini-skirts are illegal and that offenders will be fined up to US$10 or face a six months jail sentence. Wendy Hleta, the Royal Swaziland Police official spokesperson added that mini-skirts are indecent and that women who wear mini-skirts provoke rape. She maintained that because the men at the taxi rank are not happy with mini-skirts, the police will enforce the Crime Act.
To add insult to injury, some of the women who ply their trade at the bus rank supported the perpetrators and insisted that women need to ‘cover up’ if they do not want to be raped. I can bet that these are the same women who ask women who have been beaten what they did to provoke their partners. Yes, they live and walk among us.
While rape perpetrators have blamed women for dressing provocatively, researchers have found no link between rape and one's dress-code. There is no evidence to support that women dressed in mini-skirts are more likely to be raped than those dressed in ‘unrevealing’ clothes.
Our beautiful traditional attire includes a micro mini-skirt, with immaculate beadwork as its crowning glory. It just about covers the pubic area but I am yet to hear of a girl who has been raped because of wearing the traditional attire.
Baby girls barely a year old and old women who wear layers of clothing - a petticoat, long skirt and blanket - have also been sexually abused. I do not know how their dress-code provokes any man to rape them.
What we are battling to confront as a nation is that rape, like other forms of violence against women and children, is a power issue. The reason most old women and young children are attacked is because the perpetrators want to feel in control - they know that most of the time, their victims are defenceless and physically weaker than them.
In the case of the bus rank ‘employees’, I am tempted to think that these men are intimidated by women who assert their power through dressing. These men often find themselves stuck in dead-end situations where they are exposed to the unforgiving heat - day in and day out - and feel they are stuck in a rut.
The only way they can feel better about themselves is to make other people feel inferior. I am no psychologist but this is my theory and I'm sticking to it. Envy and unresolved anger does strange things to otherwise sane people.
I believe the country has bigger issues to deal with than ‘who chooses to wear what’. This is election year and we should be calling on our legislators to ensure that tougher laws are put in place to deal with people who violate other citizens' rights. We should be discussing how we can better our lives and ensure that our communities are safe for all members of society instead of a select few.
I am yet to be convinced that wearing a mini-skirt is indecent. I know many women who pull off a mini-skirt and still look very decent and professional! I do not think the amount of material used to put together an item of clothing has anything to do with decency - some people can look more decent in a really short skirt than in a pair of pants. It is just about what suits one's body shape.
I say let women wear what they want - be it tight-fitting pants, mini-skirts or traditional attire - the same goes for men!
- Bongiwe Zwane is a Public Relations Coordinator at Population Services International Swaziland. This article first appeared on the Gender Links website.
- United Nations Children's FundPlease note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.Opportunity closing date:Wednesday, February 27, 2013Opportunity type:Employment
In partnership with the Children’s Radio Foundation, UNICEF supports the creation and scale up of a national network of young reporters working in selected community-based radio stations across the country. The Young Reporters Network provides a platform for mobilising and disseminating messages to communities on a range of social issues while promoting meaningful child-to-child communication and child participation.
In order to facilitate collaboration and communication among the young reporter groups in the participating community radio stations as well as to enable better dissemination of the content generated by the young participants, a web-based, open-source group-networking platform called VOYConnect will be rolled out for use by each participating young reporter group.
The VOYConnect platform has been designed to facilitate collaborative work and the process of researching, drafting and editing content, including low-bandwidth multimedia content like photos and audio.
VOYConnect is part of a global UNICEF initiative funded by Nokia. South Africa has been selected as a focus country in the first phase of the programme. The programme brings Internet connectivity to rural and disadvantaged schools and youth centers that already have access to computers.
Through funds provided by Nokia, VOYConnect will provide resources, support and an online platform so that participants can not only positively affect the local community but also the global community through the dissemination and debate around the media pieces they produce, including through the Voices of Youth (VOY) global website, maintained by UNICEF.
UNICEF seeks to appoint a Project Coordinator to coordinate the VOYConnect in support of the Youth Reporters Network. The position is based in South Africa.
The VOYConnect coordinator will be funded with funds (50 000USD) provided by Nokia through the Division of Communication in NYHQ.
Scope of the work (work assignment)
VOYConnect is based on an online, open-source group-networking platform that will be used to facilitate collaboration and communication among youth participants who are members of the Young Reporters Network in selected community radio stations. The VOYConnect platform will also enable better dissemination of the content generated by the young participants through digital platforms.
More specifically, the Project Coordinator will:
- Work closely with relevant partners to ensure effective roll out and coordination of the VOYConnect initiative in support of the Young Reporters Network in selected radio stations.
- Provide orientation sessions and training on VOYConnect to radio facilitators and youth participants in selected programme sites.
- Oversee and manage the production of resources for use by the young reporters in the preparation of radio broadcasts.
- Travel regularly to participating sites to meet with radio facilitators, radio administrators and youth participants in order to resolve logistical problems and technical issues.
- Actively engage on the online groups of the VOYConnect platform to encourage and monitor the contributions and exchange by the young participants and ensuring that all content and interactions remain relevant to the site and its objectives.
- Provides technical assistance and website support to participating radio facilitators in order to further develop and strengthen the VOYConnect online community in support of the Young Reporters Network.
- Regularly communicates about the YRN and VOYConnect programmes to all stakeholders.
- Identify strategic stakeholders whose investment in VOYConnect will raise the programme’s profile and contribute to its sustainability;
- Documents the implementation of the YRN and VOYConnect initiatives using multimedia (production of videos, photo reporting, etc.).
- Consultant will be paid on a daily/monthly rates, within the NOA level bracket;
- VOYConnect platform is fully operational and available in all participating community radio sites based on roll out timeframe;
- Youth participants and radio facilitators in all participating radio stations have been trained on VOYConnect and are able to use it effectively based on the training timeframe;
- Relevant, quality content and resources for the YRN have been prepared and made available on the platform based on the production timeframe;
- Effective and on-going support is provided to youth participants in the use of VOYConnect and YRN more generally;
- Comprehensive reports on progress in each site are prepared and shared with UNICEF and
- relevent stakeholders based on reporting schedule.
- Bachelor’s degree in communication, management, education or other relevant field;
- Minimum of one-year in relevant professional experience in youth communication and/or education;
- Experience in journalism and radio production;
- Proficient in use of multimedia tools (digital photography, video and radio production, etc.);
- Proven ability to work well and communicate clearly with colleagues and young people, particularly in resource-poor settings where students may not be fully literate and English may be a second language;
- Experience with leading trainings for adults and young people;
- Demonstrated ability to motivate young people with timely and appropriate encouragement, constructive criticism and questioning;
- Internet literacy, including some knowledge of or familiarity with basic HTML;
- Excellent English language written and spoken communication skills.
- The contractor will be based in the UNICEF office in Pretoria;
- Local travel (outside Gauteng) and airport transfers (where applicable) will be covered in accordance with UNICEF’s rules and tariffs;
- Flight costs will be covered at economy class rate as per UNICEF policies;
- Any air tickets for travel, will be authorized by and paid for by UNICEF directly, and will be for the attendance of meetings and workshops (if contractor is from outside Gauteng).
To apply, submit an application letter, along with CV and P11 Form (which can also be accessed through the UNICEF website - www.unicef.org), to email@example.com.
Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
South African Nationals/candidates who have permanent residence/temporary residence and/or valid work permit for the duration of the contract will be considered.
Only short listed candidates will be contacted and regret emails will only be sent to interviewed candidates.
If you have not been contacted within one month of the closing date, please accept that your application was unsuccessful.
For more about UNICEF, refer to www.unicef.org.
For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to www.ngopulse.org/vacancies.
Follow news, information and updates from SANGONeT and NGO Pulse on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SANGONeT.
Amnesty International (AI) says it fears Zimbabwe will resume executions after prison officials were quoted saying they have found a new hangman.
Since the last executioner retired in 2005, 76 prisoners have been held on Death Row and prison officials this month said only that the search for a hangman was over and did not elaborate.
The organisation says that the ‘macabre recruitment’ is a disturbing sign that bucked against world trends to abolish the death penalty.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe finds new hangman, Amnesty fears new executions,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe police have raided the offices of a prominent human rights organisation in what lawyers say is the latest attempt to intimidate campaigners in that country.
Spokesperson for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Kumbirai Mafunda, “At least seven police officers in civilian clothes raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project and took some documents, including reports and CDs.”
Speaking on behalf of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Mafunda was of the view that, “This is purely harassment and another crackdown on human rights defenders.”
To read the article titled, “Harare police raid NGO’s office,” click here.Source:Independent Online
- Earlier this month, the ruling African National Congress and teacher unions butted heads over education as an essential service. While both make strong arguments it is often in debating education policies that we tend to forget the most important players in education are the children, and in order to correct our past mistakes we need to get back to basics, the basics being early childhood development.
It is estimated that over 83 percent of children in South Africa do not access any form of structured early childhood learning.
Of the 17 percent that do access Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres more than half have limited access to proper sanitation, inadequate access to stimulating resources or activities and are exposed to less than hygienic environments.
According to a study conducted by the United Nations in 2011, pupil to teacher ratios further hamper learning for children in ECD centres.
“A large number of schools have teacher-pupil ratios in excess of 40 in Grade R. Class sizes of this magnitude are problematic and do not meet the needs of early childhood development.”
These alarming statistics have impelled Cotlands to champion the right to education for all children in South Africa.
“It is imperative that we tackle the issue of early childhood learning with great urgency. If we, as a society do not address the problem that lies before us then we too contribute to infringement of the rights of thousands of children,” said Cotlands chief executive officer, Jackie Schoeman.
Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are even more marginalised as resources for children with special needs become devastatingly scarce in low-income areas.
With limited resources and poor funding, children in rural and township areas have little chance of competing in the job market with children in more affluent regions. Children who do not receive access to learning opportunities early on will almost always be at a disadvantage and needing to ‘play catch up’ throughout their academic years.
Cotlands maintains that while education is essential , declaring it an essential service to merely prevent teachers from striking without addressing the key problems serves no purpose. It is crucial that government, together with all stakeholders work towards reducing the teacher to pupil ratio, create facilities for children with learning difficulties as well as children with disabilities, increase access to early childhood development centres and address the issue of sanitation and nutrition at schools. Declaring education an essential service does not negate our responsibility to provide children with quality education.
“The basic principal is simple - children start their learning journey through play. For us it is essential that we create access to resources that will develop those skills needed for later learning and we do this through well-crafted play sessions or play with purpose,” added Schoeman.
Cotlands has formulated play sessions that target vulnerable children who do not have access to ECD centres. The children’s organisation offers this essential service free to community children along with a nutrition program that addresses yet another imperative right.
“It is important that we strengthen the fabric of our society by allowing children access to the rights set out in our constitution. We encourage all wanting to improve the quality of education to join the fight to advance the state of early childhood development.”
- Lois Moodley is marketing and PR manager at Cotlands.