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Civil society watch, 7-13 December 2020

Wednesday, 9 December is International Anti-Corruption Day and on Thursday, 10 December the world observes International Human Rights Day. (Photo: Unsplash)

This week, civil society events are geared towards observing two international days – Human Rights Day and Anti-Corruption Day, while other organisations focus on the prospects of the Covid-19 vaccine.

International Human Rights Day

On Thursday, 10 December, the world observes International Human Rights Day. This day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 with the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the absolute rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being.

International Human Rights Day provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in rebuilding the world we want and the need for global solidarity and our shared humanity.

This year’s theme, Recover better, relates to the Covid-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts.

Thursday sees the start of a two-day webinar hosted by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) on the Future of human rights education. The first panel starts at 1pm with speakers Dr Patricia Palacios-Zuloaga (HRC) Dr Koldo Casla, and Dr Daragh Murray (Digital Verification Unit), and will examine human rights education as a pedagogy that can build more inclusive and peaceful societies.

The second panel takes place on Friday, 11 December at 7.30pm, and speakers include Dr Andrew Fagan (HRC), Professor Sandy Liebenberg (HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights), Professor Cephas Lumina (University of Fort Hare), Ignacio Saiz (Centre for Economic and Social Rights), and Dr Magdalena Sepulveda (Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). They will discuss future directions for economic, social and cultural rights.

According to CHANGE the Trump administration “systematically attacked the international human rights framework, with a particular disdain for sexual and reproductive health and rights. As President-Elect Biden prepares to take office in January 2021, the global SRHR advocacy community must pursue a bold and proactive agenda to not only undo the immeasurable harms wrought by the Trump administration’s policies, but to truly build back better.”

Join CHANGE, Global Justice Centre, and the Ipas Organisation, at 5pm on Thursday for an engaging discussion on the challenges and opportunities ahead, and what feminist leadership in the new administration can, and must, do.

At 4pm on Friday, 11 November, the Human Rights Law Centre and the World Health Organisation (WHO) will host a lecture on Global health and human rights. The lecture will be given by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. Register here.

International Anti-Corruption Day

“Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the virus is creating new opportunities to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency, diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need.” – UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.

Corruption thrives in times of crisis and the ongoing global pandemic is no exception. Wednesday, 9 December is International Anti-Corruption Day.

Countries globally have taken significant measures to address the health emergency and to avoid a global economic collapse. The urgent responses required, however, created significant opportunities for corruption.

This year’s theme, Recover with integrity, highlights that only by putting effective corruption mitigation measures in place will a better recovery be possible, while it also emphasises that inclusive Covid-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity.

Did you know that Sub-Saharan Africa will go into recession for the first time in 25 years as one of the consequences of Covid-19? Join One Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation for a panel discussion to mark International Anti-Corruption Day. Speakers include Edwin Ikhuoria (ONE Africa), Prof Patrick Lumumba (Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission), Thuli Madonsela (former public protector), and Naledi Moleo (e.tv news anchor). The event will be streamed live of Facebook and Twitter.

The rest of the week…

The year 2020 is the African Union Year of Silencing the Guns. The rhetoric provides a strong impetus for providing critical solutions to conflict in Africa. As the primary driver of internal displacement in Africa, conflict accounts for the continent’s 12.5 million internally displaced people.

At 11am on Tuesday, 8 December, the Centre for Human Rights will host a webinar on Preventing conflict and forced displacement in Africa. Through reflections from key experts in the African region, this webinar provides insights on critical strategies for silencing the guns and evidently preventing forced displacement in Africa. Register here.

At 2pm the Dullah Omar Institute together with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) will host a webinar on Next generation constitutionalism – climate change: implications for constitutional law. Legal scholars Professor Derek Powell (Dullah Omar Institute), Dr Robert Nanima (UWC), Joana Setzer (Grantham Research Institute), and Navraj Ghaleigh (Edinburgh Law School) will talk about their latest research on constitutional law and the global problems of our time. Register here.

South Africans are excited about the breakthroughs in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, but sceptical about an effective vaccination plan in this country, but what does this mean for the ordinary citizen? At 10am on Friday, 11 December, join the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS)  with the Mail & Guardian for a webinar on Covid-19 vaccines and the road to recovery.

 

Speakers Dr Stan Moloabi (GEMS), Professor Shabir Madhi (University of the Witwatersrand), Prof Marietjie Venter (University of Pretoria), and Marcelle Gordon (eNCA news anchor) discuss topics such as the risk and benefits of vaccination, what to expect for the second wave, and when South Africans can expect to receive the vaccine. DM/MC

South Africa is full of activists whose voices and campaigns need to be heard, and we want to report on all of them. So, wherever you live, if you have virtual events or meetings you think other activists ought to know about, write to us at [email protected]

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