SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
RELEASE CHINESE AIDS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST TIAN XI
We the undersigned international AIDS and human rights organizations are deeply concerned by the sentencing of young Chinese HIV/AIDS activist Tian Xi to one year in prison in China. Tian Xi is a courageous advocate for the thousands of people infected with HIV through China’s blood disaster, who now demand government accountability. We call for Tian Xi’s immediate release and for a national compensation plan for the thousands of victims of the blood disaster.
The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 are saddened and outraged to learn of the brutal murder of comrade David Kato in Kampala, Uganda yesterday, 26 January 2011. We join activists in Africa and across the world in condolences to fellow comrades in Uganda, his loved ones, family and friends.
On December 2nd 2010 judge Urmila Bhoola of the Labour Court reserved judgment in the case of Gary Shane Allpass v Mooikloof Estates (Proprietary) Ltd. Amongst other things, the case concerns the alleged unfair dismissal of a horse riding instructor on the grounds of his HIV status.
The applicant, Mr Gary Allpass, is an award-winning horse rider and instructor who has been living with HIV since 1992. He was represented in court by Advocates Warren Banks and Adila Hassim, who were instructed by Webber Wentzel Attorneys. Hassim is the head of litigation and legal services at SECTION27.
Over the past year, the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, has been praised for his energy in tackling the housing crisis. He recently signed service delivery agreements with his nine MECS for Outcome 8 of the presidential outcomes – sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life – and he has been very vocal on what actions will accompany these agreements, as well as the challenges faced by his department. However, some of the Minister’s recent statements (see below) point to a lack of understanding of the reasons for the emergence and existence of informal settlements and illegally occupied inner city buildings. Further, his statements about the legal framework and recent court cases show a disregard for the role of the courts in enforcing the obligations imposed by the Constitution on the state, and in advancing struggles for fundamental rights in a constitutional democracy.
Today, SECTION27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project and COSATU hosted a joint rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria to demand the immediate release of Tian Xi and other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned in China. Tian Xi, an AIDS and human rights activist who has been imprisoned since 6 August 2010, was infected with HIV as a child during a surgical operation – a common event in China at the time – and has been actively campaigning for the rights of people so infected to receive compensation from the Chinese government.