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The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) denounces discrimination against people living with HIV

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently demonstrated its continued support of “MR”, a SECTION27 client who has faced severe discrimination by the State of Qatar (“Qatar”) and Al Jazeera English Online (“Al Jazeera”) on the basis of his HIV status. MR was dismissed from his position as a senior editor at Al Jazeera and detained by and deported from Qatar solely because he is living with HIV. The ITUC recently wrote a letter to Al Jazeera calling for the company to reinstate MR and “play a leading role in working with the Qatari government to eliminate the discriminatory laws that undermine universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and deepen the stigma attaching to HIV status”.
The letter and a press statement from the ITUC are available by clicking “read more” below. SECTION27 wholly supports these calls and believes that Al Jazeera must use its influence to fight discrimination rather than perpetrate it.

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EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES AT SECTION27

SECTION27 is at the forefont of human rights activism in South Africa. We operate as a pulbic interest law centre and seek to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. If you are passionate about human rights, self-motivated and would like to be part of a dynamic team working to challenge legal, political and social systems and positively influence society, working at SECTION27 could be the challenge you have been looking for. SECTION27 is hiring for four positions. Click below to read more.

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SECTION27 publishes the “SECTION27 REVIEW, April 2010 – December 2011”

“ … a great deal has been accomplished. But a great deal remains to be done … this journey has only just begun. Yet millions of lives depend upon it.” — From the forward by Vuyiseka Dubula, Chairperson of the SECTION27 Board of Directors

SECTION27 is pleased to announce the publication of the “SECTION27 REVIEW”.

The “SECTION27 REVIEW” is available by clicking “Read more” below, or by contacting Tummy Seboko (by email at seboko@section27.org.za or by phone at 011 356 4100).

The “SECTION27 REVIEW” reports on the work of SECTION27 from April 2010 to December 2011 and also assesses important aspects of the government’s compliance with its duties under section 27 of the South African Constitution. It features an introduction by the Executive Director, Mark Heywood, an organisational report, and essays by Mark Heywood, Adila Hassim and Jonathan Berger.

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The International Trade Union Confederation addresses letter to the Ministry of Labour and Emir of Qatar in regard to severe discrimination on the basis of HIV status


“Mr”, a SECTION27 client, has faced severe discrimination by the State of Qatar and Al Jazeera English on the basis of his HIV status. The International Trade Union Confederation recently came to his support in a letter that begins:

“Your Majesty,

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents 175 millions workers in 151 countries worldwide, is deeply concerned regarding the recent humiliating detention, dismissal and deportation of Mr, a South African Employee of Al Jazeera English Online (“Al-Jazeera”) on the basis of his HIV status. This violation was recently brought to our attention by SECTION27, a renowned South African human rights organization.”

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SECTION27 welcomes today’s launch of Corruption Watch. We call for a mass mobilisation to expose and prosecute corruption.


Today, January 26 2012, SECTION27 welcomes the launch of Corruption Watch, an independent civil society-led organisation committed to strengthening the fight against corruption in South Africa. We offer our support to its Director, Staff and Board in the challenges that lie ahead. Successfully fighting corruption in South Africa will require bravery, vision and an organisation in which millions of people can place confidence. Our country’s future – particularly the fight against poverty and inequality – depends on it.

Start today by signing the pledge at www.corruptionwatch.org.za

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The newly formed National Health Insurance Coalition (NHIC) gives civil society voice on National Health Insurance

National Health Insurance holds the potential to drastically improve health care across South Africa; civil society is organising to secure its success.

Key members of civil society recently formed the National Health Insurance Coalition (NHIC) to collectively respond to and help develop National Health Insurance (NHI). The NHIC also intends to jointly endorse key submissions on NHI, encourage civil society participation in the NHI policy process and launch an advocacy campaign, among other things.

This week, the NHIC published a discussion document to facilitate exchange over the Green Paper on NHI. On 7 – 8 December 2011 the Department of Health (DoH) held an international consultation on NHI, during this consultation the NHIC held a successful side meeting to discuss the way forward.

To inquire about the National Health Insurance Coalition or join our efforts email: coordinator@phmsouthafrica.org. We can go far together.

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TAC and SECTION27 release the first issue of our magazine: NSP Review

On World AIDS Day 2011 TAC and SECTION27 launched the first issue of their joint publication, the NSP Review. In this, and in future issues, we aim to provide quality analysis and monitoring of the implementation of the new NSP. It is our hope that this publication will increase awareness of, and critical engagement with the NSP. We will try to keep it relevant with evidence from new research and feedback from the various district offices of the Treatment Action Campaign as well as organisations with which we work closely. Our vision is a vibrant, evidence-based publication that will help all stake holders drive a more successful response to HIV, STIs and TB.

We encourage you to get in touch with us should you want to contribute to future editions of NSP Review.

You can e-mail the editor at nsp@tac.org.za nsp@tac/org.za.

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Open letter to HIVEX limited from SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign

Today, World Aids Day 2011, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 submit this open letter and make the following demands to HIVEX Limited (HIVEX). Despite the lack of any scientific evidence that HIVEX treatment is an effective treatment for HIV, HIVEX continues to promote and provide it for this purpose.

It is unlawful and deeply unethical to advertise that HIVEX is an effective treatment for HIV in the absence of such evidence. Antiretroviral treatment remains the only treatment that is scientifically proven to be effective against HIV.

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Al Jazeera English (“Al Jazeera”) and State Of Qatar (“Qatar”) accused of human rights abuses of people living with HIV

On the eve of World AIDS Day we are publicising an important case concerning vicious and humiliating human rights abuses on the basis of a person’s HIV status by a respected international media organisation, Al Jazeera. These violations are contrary to key principles of South Africa’s own response to HIV as well as well as the strategy of the leading United Nations body dealing with HIV; the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) aims to achieve zero discrimination by 2015.

Enquiries: Contact Nikki Stein on 011 356 4100 or stein@section27.org.za stein@section27.org.za

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SECTION27 PRESS ALERT: Al Jazeera English and State of Qatar accused of human rights abuses of people living with HIV

• Al Jazeera English and State of Qatar accused of violating rights of South African journalist living with HIV
• South African delegation to International Labour Organization (ILO) requested to file complaint against State of Qatar

On the eve of World AIDS Day 2011, SECTION27 invites you to a media conference that will provide details about how international TV news channel, Al Jazeera English, acted in concert with its owner, the State of Qatar, to violate the rights of a senior South African journalist.

Date: Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Time: 14h00
Venue: SECTION27, 6th floor, Braamfontein Centre, 23 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein

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High Court rules in favour of the Medicines Control Council


On 15 November 2011 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of the Medicines Control Council (MCC) and others in a matter concerning Adcock Ingram’s resistance to the MCC’s decision to cancel the registration of drugs containing dextropropoxyphene (DPP). The MCC made the decision in April 2011 after coming to the conclusion that the drugs pose a danger to the public. Previously the state attorney, purporting to act on behalf of the MCC and others, entered into a settlement with Adcock Ingram that allowed the company to continue selling the drugs. This settlement was made an order of court. On 15 November 2011 the court set aside the settlement.

The case is important because it has resulted in the removal of products from the market that the MCC and other stringent drug regulatory authorities have deemed unsafe. Importantly, it reaffirms the MCC’s statutory and constitutional duties to protect public health by ensuring that medicines are safe and basing its decisions on the available evidence. The judgment rightly places the health and safety of the public over profits of the pharmaceutical company. company.

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SECTION27’s analysis of the MTBPS and 2011/12 adjustments budget

On 25 October 2011 the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, tabled the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) at a sitting of the National Assembly. The MTBPS broadly outlines Government’s proposed spending plans for the next three years. It also provides an opportunity for Government to make adjustments to this year’s budget to cater for changes in expenditure and provide for unanticipated expenses.

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Organisations representing patients call for a minimum service level agreement (MSLA) or alternative mechanism to protect access to essential health care services

In 2007, 2009 and 2010 strikes took place in the public health sector which resulted in a serious disruption of health care services. Many users of the public health system were not able to access vital services or collect their medication. Earlier this year SECTION27 was approached by a number of concerned organisations, including Rural Doctors Association of South Africa (RuDASA) and the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) to assist in finding a resolution which recognises the right to strike and also protects patients’ rights and prevents loss of life or serious harm being suffered by patients during a strike.

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SECTION27 comments on important draft hospital regulations


Yesterday, SECTION27 responded to the “Draft Regulations Relating to the Categorisation of Hospitals” issued by the Minister of Health on 12 August 2011. The regulations aim to comprehensively categorise hospitals; if drafted properly they will improve health care service provision, offer important guidelines to health care providers and enable civil society to hold hospitals and government accountable.
Unfortunately, shortcomings in the draft regulations render them incapable of fulfilling this potential without significant revision.
The submission, sent to the Director-General of Health on 11 October 2011, identifies numerous shortcomings in the draft regulations.

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JSC interview raises concerns about judicial appointment process

SECTION27, Sonke, the Equality Project and TAC feel compelled to make public our views on how those who participated in the process were unfairly attacked, how Justice Mogoeng’s responses did little to address our concerns and how the JSC failed to discharge its constitutional mandate. We do so primarily because of our commitment to ensuring that future interviews for judicial appointment – to all superior courts – are conducted in an open and accountable process. While important, live broadcasting alone cannot guarantee that this happens.

The full press release is available at http://section27.org.za_old/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Joint_press_release_on_MM_-_201109061.pdf

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Submission to the JSC on Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) made a call for submissions ahead of their interview of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on 3 September 2011. SECTION27, Sonke Gender Justice, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project and the Treatment Action Campaign have responded to this call.

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SECTION27 and TAC welcome Green Paper on National Health Insurance

SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcome the release of the Green Paper on National Health Insurance (NHI) for public comment. As organisations committed to the realisation of the right of everyone to have access to health care services, as guaranteed in section 27 of the Constitution, we value the opportunity to participate in what appears to be a clearly defined and well-considered policy development and implementation process that is to be accompanied and underpinned by legislative reform.

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SECTION27 urges National Treasury to extend subsidisation of medical scheme contributions beyond personal income tax payers

On 22 July 2011, SECTION27 made a written submission to the National Treasury on its proposal for the first phase of the conversion of medical deductions to medical tax credits.

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Joint submission on the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill

On 22 July 2011, SECTION27 and the LRC made a written submission on the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill (“the 17th CAB”) to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.

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Judgment expected soon in Constitutional Court case concerning legality of extension of Chief Justice’s term of office

On 18 July 2011, the Constitutional Court heard argument in the matter concerning the President’s recent extension of the Chief Justice’s term of office (set to expire at midnight on 14 August 2011). As set out in our last newsletter, SECTION27 acted on behalf of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), which was admitted as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”).

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2011 Pipeline Report: HIV, HCV, immune treatments, cure and TB research

The recently published “i-Base and TAG 2011 Pipeline Report makes clear, medically, the prospect for people with HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and tuberculosis (TB) to live long and healthy lives – and in the cases of HCV and TB, to be cured rapidly with safe, effective, oral combination therapy – have never been better.

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SECTION27: Making Rights Real

SECTION27, which was launched in May 2010, incorporates the AIDS Law Project (ALP), an organisation which for nearly a decade and a half pioneered litigation and advocacy regarding the rights of people living with HIV. In this new documentary three of the founders of SECTION27 – Mark Heywood, Adila Hassim and Jonathan Berger – talk about how law can and has been used to advance campaigns for the right to health and social justice more broadly.

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