Sonke has been working to advance gender justice in South Africa and the region for more than a decade. In that time the organisation has been recognised for our human rights work in South Africa, the region and around the world.
As 2017 comes to a close, we are proud to have been awarded The Mail & Guardian Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Health Award for our prison reform work as well as the Overall Human Rights Award in the Foundation for Human Rights’ inaugural Mogambri Moodliar Human Rights Awards.
The Mail & Guardian Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Health Award was awarded to Sonke Gender Justice on the evening of Friday 1 December 2017 for our groundbreaking work in health and human rights in prisons.
The award is well timed. A year ago on 5 December 2016, the Western Cape High Court declared conditions in Pollsmoor Remand Detention Facility to be in breach of the Government’s constitutional obligations to detain inmates in conditions consistent with human dignity.
Sonke’s multifaceted work on prison reform has included a strategic mix of community education and mobilisation, legal and policy advocacy, communications and mass media and ongoing research.
On 10 November 2017, Sonke was awarded the Overall Human Rights Award in the Foundation for Human Rights’ inaugural Mogambri Moodliar Human Rights Awards.
According to Dean Peacock, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sonke, “These awards are testimony to both the effectiveness of multi-pronged and ambitious strategy and a dedicated staff willing to stay the course over the long term no matter the challenges.”
These awards build on a number of significant human rights achievements, which indicate that Sonke’s work is achieving real impact in South Africa and globally.
- On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2017, UNAIDS released a report entitled “Blind Spot: Reaching out to men and boys”. Together with our partners including the Athena Network, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Promundo, and MenEngage Africa, Sonke has partnered with UNAIDS and other UN agencies for nearly a decade to draw attention to the urgent need to reach men and boys with HIV services and to address the harmful gender norms that contribute to men’s and women’s vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS.
- On 29 November the Labour Laws Amendement Bill was passed by the National Assembly. This is a landmark achievement for which Sonke, together with other civil society partners have been advocating for many years. It will expand and improve parental leave for all parents and when signed into law will advance gender equality, improve women’s access to training and equal employment and enhance children’s wellbeing.
- On 19 October 2017, Sonke celebrated another important human rights victory when the South Gauteng High Court ruled that the common law defence of reasonable chastisement is not in line with the Constitution and no longer applies to our law. The court said that protecting our children was particularly important in the context of the high levels of child abuse and violence that pervade our society.