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.
SECTION27 has sent a request to the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Health, reqesting him to investigate alleged violations of the right to health against the State of Qatar. In October 2010, “MR” was employed by Al Jazeera English as a Senior Editor and moved to Qatar. Following severe discrimination and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by both Al Jazeera and Qatar, MR was detained by Qatari authorities, and then unfairly dismissed by Al Jazeera and deported from Qatar in January 2011. The reason for his detention, dismissal and deportation was his HIV status. This is a direct violation of the right to health and cannot be condoned.
On 8–10 June, 2011, key stakeholders from all over the world will gather in New York to review progress of the global response to HIV/AIDS and to plan the way forward. This forum has the potential to reinvigorate the commitment to HIV/AIDS nationally and internationally.
In light of this, on 20 May, SECTION27, TAC, Médecins Sans Frontières, the World AIDS Campaign and the AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa sent a letter to the Director General for Health calling on the South African government to take the lead in setting ambitious and measurable targets, and encouraging similar commitments from other UN member states.
Cabinet recently resolved to ask Parliament to take the necessary steps to enable South Africa to ratify a decision taken by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property and access to medicines. At its meeting held on 16 March 2011, Cabinet decided to request Parliament to –
– ratify the WTO decision on the implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; and
– deposit “an instrument of ratification … with the WTO.”
As organisations that are committed to ensuring universal access to essential medicines, as an integral part of the constitutional right to have access to health care services, TAC and SECTION27 call on Parliament not to ratify the decision. In this press statement we explain why we make this call.
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”.
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’.