The African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa www.ituc-africa.org ) calls for your urgent intervention with the Government of Zimbabwe to bring an end to the alarming and dangerous situation faced by the leaders and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for taking peaceful protest action against steep fuel prices that have worsened an already unbearable high cost of living in the country. The ZCTU called for a three-day ‘Stay Away’ from 14 to 16 January 2019 demanding an end to the economic crisis faced by the country and a reversal of the over 200% increase in fuel prices announced by the government.
On Monday, January 14 2019, police and security forces violently attacked peaceful protesters by opening fire on them, injuring many, with reports of eight killed and over 200 arrested. The fierce crackdown has continued with reports of heavy military and police presence on the streets and security forces arbitrarily assaulting citizens, including entering homes to drag out and beat people in an effort to instill fear and to clampdown on dissent. Furthermore, cell and landline communications, the internet and social media were blocked for two days to prevent access to information.
The Government of Zimbabwe has clearly reneged on its duty to ensure that the country’s social climate is free of violence and fear. It is violently attacking protesters on the streets and individuals in their homes instead of protecting and guaranteeing their safety. Workers have the right to express their views on the government’s economic programs, including through peaceful demonstrations in an atmosphere free of fear, intimidation, coercion, repression and violence.
ITUC-Africa therefore requests your immediate intervention with the Government of Zimbabwe to demand an end to the violation of the right to freedom of association and to call for the safety of all protesters as well as the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested. The government must accept the call of the ZCTU for social dialogue in order to address the economic woes of the country.
We also call for an independent judicial inquiry into the excessive violence against protesters to be instituted without delay in order to punish guilty parties and to prevent the repetition of such rights violations.
General Secretary, ITUC-Africa
Federation condemns forceful nature in which govt of the country is responding to legitimate protests
COSATU Solidarity Statement against the clampdown on legitimate protests and attempts to silence the growing frustration in Zimbabwe
17 February 2019
The Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU] is deeply disturbed and concerned by the blatant disregard for human rights in Zimbabwe, and the level of violence ordinary people are exposed to. This systemic abuse of power and repression against leaders and members of the trade union movement led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU] as well as the opposition should be condemned.
We condemn the forceful nature in which the government of Zimbabwe is responding, following legitimate and legal protests organised by the ZCTU and its affiliates. We have watched with dismay as the legalised repression unfolds in Zimbabwe.
These protests were organised based on legitimate demands about salaries, fuel price hikes, deteriorating economic situation, living conditions and general affordability of essentials for ordinary Zimbabweans. The Government of Zimbabwe was given the demands with the ultimatum for them to do away with the fuel hike in particular.
We applaud our sister federation the ZCTU in the unwavering determination to represent the working class and poor even in such conditions. The Federation took care to avoid violence by calling for a stay-away protest to avoid violent clashes but, instead of a formal response to their demands the government unleashed the army and the police on people.
In an attempt to cover up the awful and unlawful suppression of human rights by the Zimbabwean Government ,particularly unleashed on the people mainly residing in townships, the Zimbabwean government suspended the Internet on the 15th January 2019 around 7 am; which was confirmed by Twitter and that the shutdown was as a directive from Zimbabwean Government.
This act clearly was meant to silence the growing frustrated voices and limit communication on the subsequent clampdown today against leaders, workers, and members of the community who are involved in the stay-away since Monday, 14th February 2019.
It is reported that the police and the army have been raiding homes dragging everyone outside, forcing them to go to work and beating them up and also arresting others. It is said no one is spared this humiliation, people as old as 60years old, women included are being dragged from their homes and beaten while others are taken and their whereabouts unknown.
A number of activists have been taken and these include Pastor Evan Mawarira known for the #thisflag campaign and the Organising Secretary of the MDC Alliance, Amos Chibaya one taken by police and the other by soldiers. We call for their immediate release.
It is deplorable that live ammunition has been used on citizens, with more than 27 cases of multiple gunshot wounds and fatalities reported, as well as more than 1600 people reportedly injured and seeking medical care from Doctors without Borders.
Reports from the ground are that the numbers of those who have died since this morning have reached double digits and may increase as people regain the ability to communicate through the internet again.
We call on SADC to stop treating the issue of Zimbabwe lightly, there needs to be a stronger and more sustainable response to normalise the situation in that country, a solution that will include improving the lives of the citizens of that country. Change needs to come urgently.
The Zimbabwe Diaspora has sanctioned a march to the Zimbabwean Embassy on the 26th January 2019 in Pretoria in Solidarity with ZCTU and we call on all to join the march in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum will convene a meeting on 17th January 2019 to develop a formal response to the situation currently unfolding in Zimbabwe and COSATU will be part of this.
COSATU remains resolute as a strong partner of the ZCTU in its struggle for human and trade union rights, social justice, economic and political freedom.
Issued by Zanele Matebula, Deputy International Secretary, COSATU, 17 January 2019
Cape Town – Boys are overlooked when it comes to cases of sexual abuse and exploitation.
This is highlighted in the report “Out of the Shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation”, which was developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with support from the World Childhood Foundation, the Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation.
The report found child sexual abuse and exploitation was a pressing concern for countries.
“Girls are the primary victims, and boys are overlooked. Just over half – 21 of the 40 countries – have legal protections for boys within their child rape laws, while only 18 countries collect prevalence data about the sexual abuse of boys. Just five collect prevalence data for boys related to child sexual exploitation.”
While statistics on boys is lacking, the research showed that 120 million boys, globally, had been subjected to some form of sexual abuse.
“The adverse effects of sexual violence in childhood on health and mental well-being carry into adulthood, foreshadowing societal and public health risks that, like abuse itself, remain largely overlooked.”
The study found that boys were barely addressed in some legal frameworks covering sexual violence against children, nor were they the focus of much government attention.
UN deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed said: “Every day, across all countries and levels of society, millions of girls and boys face the alarmingly common childhood experience of sexual abuse and exploitation.”
The report found that South Africa had demonstrated its commitment to tackling sexual violence against children by enacting comprehensive legislation on sexual offences against children.
However, victim support and resources for legal and law enforcement professionals could be strengthened.
“South Africa has a comprehensive system of training and guidance for front line support workers who respond to cases of sexual violence against children.
The Department of Education issues guidelines for teaching professionals, and there are similar programmes for medical, social and psychiatric workers.
“The country, also, provides protections against the procurement of minors for sexual services and the visual depiction of minors engaging in sexual activities, having signed into law the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill in 2013.”
A SERVING top military official and a police officer were yesterday unmasked as leaders of the deadly protests in the Epworth dormitory town, which led to the death of civilians and looting of shops.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE/ XOLISANI NCUBE
This came as more Zanu PF officials were exposed for their riotous role during the three-day mass stayaway organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and social movements to protest the sharp fuel price hikes announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Saturday.
Lieutenant Morrosi Carnage of Inkomo Mounted Regiment, who was arrested together with other 60 protesters, appeared before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo yesterday charged with public violence.
While opposing bail, Epworth police officer-in-charge Peter Mangwende told the court that Carnage was one of the leaders who led the violent protesters from the front.
Mangwende also told court that a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Ignatius Zuze, was also shot while leading the protesters.
However, Zuze could not be located at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, where he was supposed to be under treatment.
Carnage and his 60 alleged accomplices are represented by members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — Kossam Ncube, Marufu Mandevere and Nontokhozo Dube-Tachiona.
The lawyers took the State to task after prison doctors failed to treat and examine the suspects, who were severely assaulted by the police and some had visible injury marks.
Mandevere, however, successfully filed for the accused persons to be examined by private doctors, saying the court should have granted the order to have them treated.
“The court cannot just watch. These accused persons were severely assaulted and some have visible injury marks. The suspects cannot lose dignity or human rights because of the arrest. This can happen to anyone. The court needs to maintain the accused person’s rights,” Mandevere said
The defence applied for bail pending trial, but the State opposed, saying they must proceed to trial.
Mapfumo postponed the matter to today for continuation.
Eight other Zanu PF youth leaders have appeared in court facing allegations of public violence and looting after they allegedly burnt a Zupco bus along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway before they looted a shop belonging to Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu (Zanu PF).
Zanu PF Harare provincial youth league boss Godwin Gomwe was on Wednesday night also reportedly assaulted by soldiers for leading a terror group that was attacking suspected MDC supporters in Budiriro as well as participating in looting under the guise of restoring peace.
Yesterday, a subdued Gomwe had promised to discuss the issue with NewsDay later in the evening, as he claimed to be with “certain important people” discussing important matters.
“Can I call you later. I have your mobile number. I am with important people here, talking something very important. I will call in 30 minutes time,” Gomwe said in a hushed tone.
After 30 minutes, Gomwe was not picking up calls. He also did not respond to messages sent to his mobile phone.
But Zanu PF insiders said the youth league boss was leading a gang of 70 youths that went on a rampage in Budiriro and other residential areas, assaulting known MDC supporters, accusing them of having participated in the protests before he unleashed his troops to loot some shops.
“He was using a fleet of 20 unmarked vehicles and he terrorised people, but luck ran out when they were stopped by the military, who wanted to know what they were doing and who had sanctioned their actions. He ignored them and went away. But the soldiers followed him to his residence, where he was assaulted together with members of his gang. He was left at Harare Central Police Station,” a senior Zanu PF official said.
The ruling party and government have blamed the opposition Nelson Chamisa-led MDC for orchestrating violence during the three-day national strike, to force the administration to address the economic decay bedevilling the country.
During the three-day stayaway, junior military officers, who were earlier reportedly moving around high-density suburbs beating up people for participating in the national strike that turned violent, were seen engaging residents, telling them to exercise their right peacefully.
In Dzivarasekwa and Mabvuku, the soldiers ordered residents to stay indoors and exercise their right to stay away peacefully by not barricading roads or attacking each other.
“The suffering you are going through is shared by everyone. But let us not be violent. Don’t barricade the roads, especially with big stones and logs, try something which is not violent. Do the stayaway in peace,” a soldier at Dzivarasekwa 4 said.
“Do whatever you want, we are supporting you, but don’t be violent. We had to beat you because you were being violent. We don’t want violence,” the soldier told the residents.
Earlier in the day, the military had subjected most men in Dzivarasekwa to beatings for allegedly barricading the roads to block traffic from getting into town or offering transport to anyone who wanted to get into town.
In Mabvuku, according to residents, soldiers summoned all men in the neighbourhood after they had clashed with them in the morning for allegedly blocking traffic.
“They told us that they were not against the idea of the stayaway or protests, but barricading of roads and destruction of property. They actually said they sympathised with ordinary citizens,” a resident told NewsDay.
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore requested that written questions be brought to Josiah Magama Tongogara barracks.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in
Zimbabwe. The level of frustration and anger amongst citizens who feel excluded and
alienated by the successive economic and political attacks carried out by the ZANU PF elites has clearly reached a boiling point. The spark of a callous 150% fuel price increase has ignited the fires of years of political manipulation, the failure of elections to provide a legitimate set of leaders, deteriorating economic conditions and the growing sense that the government of Zimbabwe has no interest in the living conditions of ordinary citizens.
The closing down of social media and the restrictions placed on access to the internet, the direct result of collusion between private sector companies like Econet, and the Zimbabwean regime, are utterly unacceptable. This kind of draconian action is normally associated with despotic regimes. The actions by ZANU PF expose the ugly face of a militarised approach to governance and cannot be tolerated. The ZSF calls for the immediate and unconditional lifting of all restrictions on the use of the internet. We remain deeply concerned that this silencing of legitimate voices provides the pretext for state sanctioned violence and even more severe forms of repression.
Venue: 6 Spin Street, Cape Town CBD (near Parliament)
Click on the videos below to view SABC reports from our workshop:
Chair: Tawanda Sachikonye, SALO
Opening Remarks: Marissa van Rensburg, SALO
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Deputy Minister John Jeffery, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Funeka Soldaat: Founder of Khayelitsha-based lesbian advocacy group, Free Gender
Judith Mukuna: Refugee rights activist, Scalabrini Centre
Prof. Tim Murithi: Head, Peacebuilding Interventions, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
Bishop Rubin Phillip, Co-Chair: KwaZulu-Natal Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration council; Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Natal; Former Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; Chair of the SALO board
SALO would like to thank the Royal Norwegian Embassy
Gender equality is a widely discussed topic both nationally and internationally. Women’s rights movements are taking actions worldwide aimed at decreasing and eventually eliminating the financial gap between men and women. Women are taking a stand by letting their governments know that gender discrimination cannot stand if we envision a more democratic and advanced future.
Sweden, a country located in Scandinavia, today calls itself the world’s first feminist government. Gender equality is one of the Swedish government’s most prioritised issues. It is a matter that is of utmost importance to the majority of political parties in Sweden. When governmental decisions are made, equality between the sexes is almost always factored into the decision-making process. The Swedish government states on their official website that there is consensus in government that women and men should receive equal opportunities nationwide. Gender equality is a human right which Sweden wants to uphold at all costs. The government believes that democracy cannot succeed without women becoming an essential part of Swedish society. Sweden also believes that in order to solve financial and societal challenges, women must be integrated into the workforce.
The Swedish government is striving to attain gender equality in Sweden, by pursuing the following six goals:
The equal distribution of power and influence between men and women – both should have the right to influence decision-making.
Financially, both genders must be presented with equal opportunities and working conditions.
Women and men must be treated in the same manner in the education sector, this means that they may have the same opportunities to study, and also receive the same opportunities for personal development.
Both sexes must split the housework and care-taking in the home; taking on the same obligations.
Health-wise, both genders must be presented with healthcare on equal terms.
Gender-based violence must come to an end; violence against women has no place in society. Both sexes deserve the same opportunity and right to physical integrity.
Swedish women’s status is considered high compared to other EU countries. Sweden is on top of the European Union Gender Equality Index. The highest score one can receive on the index is 100. Sweden has scored 82,6; while the average for the EU is 66.2. Women also make up 44% of parliament in Sweden while the EU average is 28%. In comparison, gender equality in South Africa is more fluctuating- good in some areas, and poor in others. Women account for 43,8% of total employment, yet only 32% of managers in South Africa are women. However, parliament is a space where women have been notably well represented in South Africa. About 41% of South African MP’s are women, which is positive compared to many European countries. 33,3% of German MP’s are women, while in the UK this figure sits at only 30,8%.
The Swedish government uses many relevant tools to uphold gender equality in their country. At the same time, Sweden is also actively working to raise gender equality within the United Nations and has developed a promising strategy with UN Women aimed at fostering equality between men and women on a global scale. The strategy is intended to be implemented between 2018 and 2022 at a global, regional and national level. The strategy entails developing and putting into action an inclusive and powerful set of international norms, policies and principles on gender equality. It intends to encourage women to lead, engage in and benefit from governance structures, so that they can play a role in decision-making- both locally and globally. The strategy intends to empower women of all ages, and seeks to give young girls of today the opportunity to contribute towards the building of a sustainable future internationally. Women should not feel that they are excluded from peace making processes. Sweden and UN Women have developed this plan together in the hopes of creating a better future for women and girls globally. Through proper communication, economic donations and hard work on the Executive Board, Sweden will work towards ensuring that their plan is fulfilled and that their goals are met before the project period is over.
I believe that the Swedish government is an inspiring example. Every country should aspire to give their women the best and most equal opportunities in society, as Sweden endeavors to do. Historically, women have always been portrayed as the ‘weaker’ gender, which has resulted in the disastrous gender gaps that many women face in today’s world. This perception of women being the weaker, ‘lesser’ gender is a major contributing factor in the global pandemic of gender based violence. It is crucial that governments obtain an understanding that women are equal counterparts, and as such should be treated equally in every aspect of life. More women should sit in parliament; more women should be CEO’s and all women should be able to live their lives without fear. I believe in a world where women can lead nations and make impactful international decisions. I also strongly believe that when women are not represented in government, and don’t have the opportunities to impact decision-making, countries suffer greatly. South Africa is a country with immense potential, and I am convinced that by implementing some of the same practices that Sweden is promoting, we can make a significant change not only for South African women, but for South African society in general.
As for the Swedish government’s future; I do not know what will happen, but I’m hoping for the best. Swedish elections took place in September and the results were somewhat worrying, with the Swedish Democrats (one of Sweden’s more conservative and controversial parties) gaining 17,6% – making them the third most powerful party in the country. Conservative parties aren’t always in favour of change, especially for women, and this can result in a potential setback in parliament. I am eagerly waiting to see what will happen, and hoping that the women of Sweden will not be robbed of their rights.