Teaching journalists to cover HIV and AIDS in a way that focuses on the broader question of their role in democracy-building

Marietjie Oelofsen of Idasa-GAP says the curriculum development project with UNESCO is a continuation of Idasa-GAP’s consideration of the role of journalists in unlocking resources across communities to deal with the challenges of HIV and AIDS. “It will look at the potential of journalism education to prepare journalists to generate a public conversation about citizens’ common concerns around HIV and AIDS and how the media can become a catalytic force to enable citizens to become co-creators in developing solutions to address HIV and AIDS and other developmental concerns.” Click here for more information.

Government Choked By Maputo Declaration

Liberian Government signed the agreement of Maputo Declaration, which calls on all African governments to allocate 10 percent of their National Budgets to the agricultural sector in an effort to achieve 6 percent average annual growth needed in the CAADP, but it fall short of implementing the agreement. The Liberian farmers made the call for more effort in budget allocation increase for agriculture along with their civil society counterparts at a three days “Applied Budget Analysis Training Forum” organized by the Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD) in collaboration with IDASA’s Economic Governance Program (EGP). Read more here.

Idasa working with AIDS groups in five African countries

Democracy institute Idasa will be working in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia focusing on HIV and AIDS and human rights. Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP) has already held meetings with government officials from various ministries and members from groups like the Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL), UNAIDS and UNDP. Memoranda of Understandings have been (MOU) signed with the African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (AFRICASO), and the East African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO) and GAP is also participating in the Legislative Assembles with EANNASO.

Paul Graham statement at Community of Democracies on 3rd July 2010

The Community of Democracies recently commemorated its 10th Anniversary in Krakow Poland, where over over 100 civil society leaders and democracy activists from every region of the world participated. Idasa’s Paul Graham spoke to State representatives – see his remarks here.

Media for Advocacy trainees talk about their work

Leo and Raynor

Listen to Leo from ISODEC (Ghana) and Raynor from Elimu Yetu (Kenya) on the work they are doing on education rights in Africa.  Both were participants at a training workshop on using “Media for Advocacy” in Tanzania in February 2010, for partners and colleagues around the continent, working in education.

Also see the pictures from the workshop here.

African Governance – Ibrahim Index

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is a comprehensive ranking of sub-Saharan African nations according to governance quality. The criteria for assessment capture the quality of services provided to citizens by governments and focus on the results that the people of a country experience.

The criteria are divided into five over-arching categories which together make up the cornerstones of a government’s obligations to its citizens:

•Safety and Security
•Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption
•Participation and Human Rights
•Sustainable Economic Opportunity
•Human Development

See more and downloadable country reports here.

Council disconnects children’s water

The decision to shut off water and electricity to schools is a violation of human rights, of the right to education in particular.  Though the Tshwane Metro Council called it a last resort; it is simply not an option. Providing quality basic education (a guaranteed human right in South Africa) is a multi-sector endeavour, requiring the commitments of the water, sanitation, power generation, internal security, transportation and roads ministries.

Rights are not the same as needs.  Human beings have the right to a minimum standard of education, inherent to their being born.  In this case, the right-holders are children.  It is the responsibility of the State to create an environment in which the right to basic education can be claimed.  Sending the police to force to compel the Tshwane Metro Council to reconnect the schools would not have been overkill.  It would have sent a strong message to South Africans, that the government of South Africa will not tolerate the violation of the rights of its citizens; particularly children, those who will most certainly have to make these policy choices in future.
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Did SA sell weapons to rogue regimes ?

The debate on South Africa’s arms trade is once again in the spotlight. The Democratic Alliance’s David Maynier has informed the House of his serious concerns regarding possible weapons transactions involving countries with very dubious human rights records, such as Libya and North Korea.  There might also be an arms deal pending with neighbouring Zimbabwe. Continue reading

Human Rights and Prisoners – Zimbabwe

Shouldn’t human rights apply to all humans, even prisoners?

Should the crime of stealing a piece of meat be punishable by death? In Zimbabwe’s prisons even a short incarceration period has a high probability of ending an inmate’s life, a fate that torments prisoners when they are imprisoned. Continue reading

Elections and Human Rights

While the definition of human rights seems simple and makes perfect sense to most of us, this unfortunately does not mean that all people everywhere have enjoyed equal rights through the ages. Human rights have always been, and continue to be, at the root of many struggles for national, group and personal freedom. As elections approach, we consider Human Rights and Elections in South Africa. Continue reading