Maverick Citizen

Maverick Citizen

The week in civil society: A virtual festival for human rights, a march for TB services and more calls vaccines for all

The week in civil society: A virtual festival for human rights, a march for TB services and more calls vaccines for all
Archive photo: Members of the Treatment Action Campaign march to the offices of the Eastern Cape Department of Health in Port Elizabeth to protest against the lack of services at the metro’s clinics. (Photo: Mike Holmes)

Civil society will keep the focus on human rights throughout this week – from vaccines to education. The Treatment Action Campaign will call on government to declare TB a national health emergency. Human rights experts and the private sector weigh in on the human rights obligations of pharmaceutical companies during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Human Rights Day conversation will be extended by 10 days thanks to the wide-ranging schedule of the Constitution Hill Human Rights Festival.

From 21 to 31 March 2021, there will be (free and virtual) debates on the impact of Covid-19 on human rights, the rule of law and what our world will (or should) look like after the crisis. Speakers include the likes of former Constitutional Court judges Kate O’ Regan and Albie Sachs. See the full schedule here

It is the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination under the theme of “Youth standing up against racism”.

This week also marks World Water Day on 22 March and World TB Day on 24 March. Maverick Citizen will be publishing a series of articles this week on the state of TB care in South Africa.

The Treatment Action Campaign will be marching to the Ehlanzeni Disaster Management Centre in Mpumalanga on 24 March at 8am. It will demand that the government declare TB a national health emergency. Over 360,000 people live with TB in South Africa, however, TB health services have just been defunded by billions.

The rest of the week…

On Tuesday 23 March, the human rights obligations during the global Covid-19 vaccine rollout of countries as well as pharmaceutical companies will be under the spotlight. The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability is bringing together the private sector and civil society during an online discussion to unpack issues such as the TRIPS Agreement, vaccine distribution and intellectual property rights. Join the conversation here at 1pm.

That evening, the second annual Social Justice Lecture will take place online. Presented by Stellenbosch University, this year the topic is: “Apparent Problems – Hidden Opportunities: Amazing opportunities for Social Justice in US and SA in 2021”. The speaker is Keith Errol Benson —  a musician, filmmaker, university mentor and author. He is the founder of the Department of PEACE at Harvard University. Join at 5pm here.

How will Mpumalanga, the country’s biggest source of coal, adjust to a green economy? Government officials and environmental experts will discuss the province’s current green economy plan during a virtual event on Wednesday 24 March at 2pm here.

On Thursday 25 March, a number of teacher unions will take part in a virtual panel discussion on why teachers should be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. Joining them will be the convenor of the Progressive Health Forum, Dr Aslam Dasoo, and the deputy general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, Sibongile Tshabalala. Join the discussion at 4pm here. DM/MC.

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