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The South African Child Gauge

The South African Child Gauge is the only publication in the country that provides an annual snap-shot of the status of South Africa’s children.
It is published by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, to track South Africa’s progress towards realising children’s rights.
The latest issue focuses on the theme ‘Healthy children: From survival to optimal development‘.

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The making of ‘A Country For My Daughter’

Director Lucilla Blankenberg, producer Janine Tilley and Nonkosi Khumalo take you through the journey of the making of A Country For My Daughter.
In “A Country For My Daughter” Nonkosi travels around the country investigating the stories of brave women whose court cases have transformed the law in South Africa for the better.

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Social justice organisations denounce the arrest of Sunday Times journalist, Mzilikazi wa Afrika

We are organisations that campaign for social justice. The success of our work is dependent on respect for the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. The right to free expression and freedom of the press and other media are essential components of democracy. That is why they are contained in the Bill of Rights. They are one of the essential means by which all people in South Africa, especially the vulnerable, exploited and poor, can hold government and the powerful private business sector to account.

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Joint SECTION27 and LRC submission on the draft Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Superior Courts Bill

On 15 July 2010, SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) made a joint submission on the draft Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Superior Courts Bill to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The Bills propose establishing a single judiciary with the Constitutional Court as the apex court for all legal matters. The submission focuses primarily on the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court; the regulation of the terms of office of judges of the Constitutional Court; and the expansion of the mandate of the Judicial Service Commission.

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SECTION27 leader speaks on AIDS and human rights in China

On Monday 5th July Mark Heywood, the director of SECTION27, was one of the keynote speakers at the launch of China’s first ever forum between the Chinese government and civil society representatives to talk about human rights issues linked to HIV/AIDS. The China Red Ribbon Beijing Forum as it is known was opened by the Vice Minister of Health, Yin Li, UNAIDS and a person living with HIV. Heywood spoke on the importance of engagement between government and civil society on issues of human rights.

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Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision is Safe and Effective: But beware of unsafe devices

The Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the Treatment Action Campaign support the implementation of a country-wide voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) programme. Male medical circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Despite the effectiveness of VMMC, it is essential that circumcised men are encouraged to continue using condoms during sexual intercourse.

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HIV/AIDS and the Law Certificate Course Curriculum

HIV/AIDS and the Law is intended to be a practical training course for lawyers, activists and journalists on law in South Africa as it relates to people living with HIV. The course will cover the nature, history and extent of HIV and how to apply legal and policy processes to people living with HIV/AIDS in the areas of Human rights; the Constitution; Employment law; Social assistance and insurance; Access to health care services; Criminal, civil and public impact litigation.

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HIV incidence in South Africa: what is really happening?

Measuring changes in HIV incidence is key to evaluating the effectiveness of prevention interventions – including the provision of antiretroviral treatment (ART), which has been shown to reduce transmission – as well as for quantifying the need for future services, which is important for planning and budgeting.

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Health Department allows patients to get three months of antiretroviral treatment

The Department of Health has given the go-ahead for patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) to be given three months supply of medicines instead of one month. The TAC and SECTION27 welcome this decision. It will be more convenient for patients because they will have to make fewer trips to their health facility. It will also reduce patient-load on the health system, particularly on health facility pharmacies given the shortage of pharmacists in the public health system. In a memorandum dated 2 July 2010, the Department of Health states, “There is no indication of any legislation prohibiting the supply of medicines for three months to any one patient. This practice should only be implemented once the patient has proved stable on the regimen.”

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Transparency and fairness must be enforced in 2010 ARV tender process

High Court finds part of 2008 ARV tender procedurally unfair
Company with lowest prices unfairly excluded from bidding
Questions raised as to motive for company’s exclusion

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Call on Government to withdraw homophobic statements made by representative to United Nations

A broad range of civil society organisations have called on the South African government to distance themselves from homophobic and unconstitutional comments made by Jerry Matjila, South Africa’s representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Matjila said that to protect gay people, “demeans the legitimate plight of the victims of racism”.

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Concerns regarding Indian trade negotiations with EU

Letter to the High Commissioner for India to South Africa: Our concerns regarding Indian trade negotiations with EU.
This letter explains that the prospect of making new ARVs available in South Africa at affordable prices is under threat because of events unfolding in India. In particular, pressure is being applied by the European Union on the Indian government to sign a bilateral trade agreement that will stifle competition on essential medicines still under patent.

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Job Advert: Assistant and Researcher to the Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign

Organisation: SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project

Job title: Assistant and Researcher to the Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign

Location: Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dynamic young person passionate about social justice needed to assist in the office of the Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign as assistant and researcher.

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Demonstration on 17 June 2010

Call on US government to fund AIDS and health

On 17 June 2010, about 2,000 people representing 16 organisations marched to the United States (US) consulate in Sandton, Johannesburg, to demand that the US leads the way in funding universal access to antiretroviral treatment.

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ILO conference adopts unprecedented new international labour standard on HIV and AIDS

GENEVA (ILO News) – Governments, employers and workers meeting at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) today adopted a new international labour standard on HIV and AIDS (pdf 1597KB) – the first international human rights instrument to focus specifically on the issue in the world of work.

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Current OSD offer still disadvantages rural communities

The Rural Health Advocacy Project, Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa, SECTION27 and Wits Centre for Rural Health support SAMA’s rejection of the final OSD offer to public sector doctors. By accepting the Government’s OSD offer, collective labour in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council will be contributing to a major setback in Government’s strides to achieve health for all. By offering only marginal increases to medical officers in particular, rural communities are likely to see a further exodus of rural doctors to urban areas, the private sector, and overseas.
Rural patients are disadvantaged in many ways: poverty levels are higher, access to basic services and education is poor, travel to health facilities is costly, facilities are understaffed and waiting times are out of control; now they can expect even fewer doctors to attend to their needs.

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SECTION27 and Mandela Institute offer a new certificate course on HIV and the Law

SECTION27 will be offering a new certificate course with the Mandela Institute at Wits University. The course, HIV/AIDS and the Law, is designed to provide practical training for government officials, lawyers, activists, journalists and health care workers to improve their knowledge on current law, policies and guidelines as they relate to HIV and the history and politics of the struggle for recognition of the human rights of people living with HIV. The course will provide learners with a solid foundation on which to analyse and understand the implications of policies and the rights of individuals living with HIV and the possibilities for recourse under the Constitution and the laws of the country.

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TAC and SECTION27 welcome the release of IST report

On Monday 31 May Business Day reported that because of the deepening financial crisis facing health services in the provinces the Minister of Health is discussing a “bail-out” of provincial departments of health by the Treasury. Treasury intervention is now vital to prevent the collapse of health services. But equally important is the resolution of the crisis facing financial management systems that led to the massive debt in the first place.

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Release of Monjeza and Chimbalanga welcome

The Treatment Action Campaign(TAC) , SECTION27, the Social Justice Coalition, Community Media Trust and the Coalition Against Discrimination welcome the release and pardon of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi. They were arrested in December 2009 after getting engaged and sentenced in May 2010 to 14 years imprisonment for ‘gross indecency and unnatural acts’.

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3rd BEMF meeting: Problems of provincial health funding

The Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF) held its third meeting on 21 May 2010. It brought together over 30 people from 10 organisations. The aim was to understand what civil society can do to ensure that the budgeting process –at the national and provincial levels– results in the appropriate allocation and use of financial resources to address health needs.

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Malawian court's cruel sentence

Leading activist organisations have condemned the cruel sentence by a Malawian magistrate imposed on Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, two men (one of whom is transgender and identifies as a woman) because they held a public engangement. They have been sentenced to 14 years in hard labour.

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SECTION27 protests against conviction of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

We condemn in the strongest terms the 14 years of hard labour sentence handed down by a court in Blantyre to Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga for committing so-called “unnatural acts”. Steven and Tiwonge were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement and have been in jail ever since.

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Factsheet: Health budgeting and HIV

SECTION27 has developed a fact sheet on health budgeting and HIV for the members of the Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum. This fact sheet explains how the national and provincial governments develop budgets, equitable share and conditional grants.

It is important for civil society to demand that government spend money appropriately, efficiently and in ways that prioritise providing services that will save people’s lives. To do so, we must understand how the budgeting process works and how we can participate in it. It is with this in mind that this fact sheet was developed. We hope it will help people understand the budgeting process.

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SECTION27 wins right to use its own name

Following the initiation of legal proceedings, on 7 May 2010, the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) has agreed to permit the AIDS Law Project (ALP) to reserve the name SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project.

CIPRO initially refused to reserve the name, SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project, explaining as follows, “your proposed name connote government patronage. The wording employed to serve as a name, cannot be allowed and are calculated to cause damage, moreover misleading and damaging”. CIPRO also refused our request on the basis of a comparison with existing names on its database, however, they bore no resemblance to the requested name.

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Introducing SECTION27, an organisation that will challenge the state and the private sector to fulfill their constitutional obligations on health

At 4pm on 7 May 2010, leaders from various civil society,public and private sector organisations in South Africa and internationally, gathered for the launch of a new human rights organisation – SECTION27. Head of Legal and Litigation at SECTION27 Adilla Hassim, delivered a speech and COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi delivered the keynote address.

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Constitution packs a real punch:opinion piece published in the Mail and Guardian

Fourteen years ago, our freely elected representatives adopted the Constitution – in part – to “free the potential of each person”, “[h]eal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”.

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Messages from our partners on the launch of SECTION27

On the eve of the launch of SECTION27, we received messages from the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNAIDS and other partners.

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ALP final review: January 2009 – March 2010

The ALP’s final review covers the organisation’s work from January 2009 through March 2010. While focusing on recent work, this review also reflects on experiences and developments over the past 17 years as it considers the transition to SECTION27.

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Submission on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill, 2010

On 20 April 2010, the ALP presented its submission on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill, to the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Social Development. We focused on two issues, namely, the vagueness of the proposed definition of disability and problems in the current and proposed Appeal Processes. ALP was requested to recommend a definition of disability that addresses the concerns raised in our oral and written submissions and a supplementary submission was made.

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ALP calls on Health Minister to maintain his firm stand on drug prices

The AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcomes the Minister of Health’s budget speech of 13th April 2010. We are encouraged by his commitment to strengthen the public health system, the setting of clear targets for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and the urgency in the Minister’s approach to tackling the health crisis in South Africa.

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