Sonke Newsletter – April 2019
REFUGEE HEALTH AND RIGHTS
In the lead up to the general elections, South Africa is witnessing an increase in xenophobic violence and rhetoric. Join us as we take a stand against xenophobia by downloading the poster at the link below. Please print it, share it and spread the message of a safe and equal South Africa!
“The character of a country can be judged by how society’s most vulnerable people are treated,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he signed the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Declaration on 28 March 2019. “We have heard the pleas of survivors of gender-based violence that they would like to be treated with respect by our criminal justice system,” he continued. The declaration, which contains commitments to eradicating GBV that Sonke and our civil society partners have advocated for for a number of years, represents an important victory. Now we must ensure these commitments are implemented.
CHILD RIGHTS & POSITIVE PARENTING
The Prevention+ program promotes gender-equal societies by addressing the root causes of gender-based violence. A newly released video provides an overview of the program’s approach, work and impact in Indonesia, Rwanda, and Uganda and includes emerging evidence around working with fathers and couples to prevent violence.
In light of numerous cases of gender-based violence (GBV) highlighted in the media, Sonke’s Communications and Strategic Information unit manager, Karen Robertson calls on leaders to uphold their obligation to promote gender equality and prevent GBV. Read the article published in the Daily Maverick here.
“Support for the death penalty is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of criminal behaviour and the instrumental value of a criminal justice system in a modern democracy,” writes Clare Ballard in the Daily Maverick on behalf of Lawyers for Human Rights, Sonke, NICRO and Centre for Applied Legal Studies as part of the Detention Justice Forum.
SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH & RIGHTS
Gender-based violence has a devastating impact on sexual and reproductive health and abortion services writes Sonke’s Programmes Director, Angelica Pino in this Mail & Guardian article which calls for the improvement of post-trauma care in public health facilities. “When women face an unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape, they are more than twice as likely to choose to terminate that pregnancy, even if safe and legal abortion options are unavailable,” she writes.
What we’re reading
“President Cyril Ramaphosa told dozens of women and civil [society] organisations that the government is looking into decriminalising sex work […] His comments were greeted by loud cheers from women activists and members of nongovernmental organisations against gender-based violence.”
“South Africa is currently facing a national crisis of rape, violence and femicide against women and children. Globally surpassing all our counterparts, we have the highest level of femicide at 12.1 women murdered per 100,000, and the highest level of incidence of rape at 138 per 100,000. These shockingly and unusually high levels of violence require a multi-pronged approach, but more importantly, the judicial and policing response must be buttressed by finance.”
“It is here, where patriarchal power must relinquish its most potent weapon, sexual violence and assault, that we should judge politicians and political parties. It is not enough to pronounce that they “respect women” or espouse values which would make it impossible for them to abuse women. We need concrete actions against sexual assault and sexual harassment from people who want to lead this country and the political parties they lead.”