Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH: 11-16 MARCH

This week — Launch of report on justice transition, Anti-racism week, and memorial service for Professor Edward Webster

This week — Launch of report on justice transition, Anti-racism week, and memorial service for Professor Edward Webster
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Show Racism the Red Card will host an Anti- Racism Training under the theme 'Creating Anti-Racist Classrooms in 2024' on 14 March as part of Anti-Racism Week. (Photo: GroundUp / Ashraf Hendricks)

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will hear an appeal brought by the South African Human Rights Commission; solitary protests for climate activists abused and unlawfully arrested at Standard Bank protests; and International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

On Monday, 11 March at 3.30pm, Countering Backlash will host an event on how backlash is weakening institutional contexts for gender justice globally. 

Speakers from Bangladesh, Uganda, Lebanon, Serbia, and India will discuss stalling and lack of implementation of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act; the infiltration of conservative religious and political actors in democratic institutions in the context of Serbia and neighbouring countries; anti-feminist backlash as institutional by default in Lebanon; and the legislative weakening of institutional contexts in Uganda, examining legal acts which exert control over civil society organisations, the organisers say. 

Register here.

On Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at 10am, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will hear an appeal brought by the South African Human Rights Commission. The court is being asked to consider whether the directives issued by the commission are legally binding. 

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies seeks to intervene in the matter as a friend of the court to present international law on the nature of recommendations by national human rights bodies.

The centre says the matter “has important implications for the effectiveness of Chapter 9 institutions. The appeal was brought by the South African Human Rights Commission against Agro Data and Mr FG Boshoff. The Commission investigated a complaint that Agro Data and Mr Boshoff had cut off community access to a borehole on their land, thus limiting their right of access to sufficient water. The Commission directed the respondents to restore the supply of water and engage with the people living on the land.

“When the respondents failed to comply with the directives, the Commission approached the High Court. They asked the Court to declare not only that these particular directives should be enforced, but that all directives issued by the Commission are binding. The Court found that a case had not been made to order that all directives by the Human Rights Commission are binding. It further ordered that the directive to restore the water supply had no legal effect. The Commission has taken the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

Also on Tuesday, at 6pm, there will be a public talk on “race, gender and class in the abolitionist movement” by Professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Victoria J Collis-Buthelzi at The Forge in Braamfontein. 

RSVP to [email protected]

On Wednesday, 13 March at 8am Extinction Rebellion will stage a solidarity protest for climate activists abused and unlawfully arrested during the Standard Bank protests. 

It will take place at Standard Bank’s head office in Rosebank.

Also on Wednesday, at 9am, groundWork Friends of the Earth South Africa will launch the 2023 edition of its annual research report titled Into the Climate Fire: Harsh realities and Fossil Fantasies in South Africa’s conflicted transition at the Observatory Golf Club in Johannesburg. 

“2023 was the hottest year ever by a very long shot and the bets are on that 2024 will be hotter still. The heat in South Africa’s conflicted transition is also rising. The 2023 groundWork Report is the fourth in a series on the just (or unjust) transition. It connects the intersections and lays bare the collisions we face in the near future. It documents the fantasies of petrostate riches, and ‘clean coal’ pitted against the project for a ‘purposive transition’. It reviews the milestones of the transition in 2023, including the JET Implementation Plan, the Climate Bill and the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan. It analyses the intervention of the Presidential Climate Commission in the decommissioning process unfolding at the Komati power station,” the organisation says. 

RSVP to [email protected].

The livestream link is here.

Also on Wednesday, at 6pm, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse will host a webinar for people who are considering starting a residents’ association in their community. 

“Don’t miss out on valuable insights, expert tips and an interactive session with our panellists, including Julia Fish from JoburgCAN, Chantelle Gladwin-Wood from Schindlers Attorneys and Jonathan Erasmus,” reads the event description.

Thursday, 14 March is the first day of Anti-Racism Week, which runs until 21 March.

This is an annual action week aimed at creating public awareness around racism and how it affects individuals and broader society, according to the Anti-Racism Network South Africa. It also ensures there is a countrywide focus on tackling racism.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Show Racism the Red Card will host an Anti-Racism Training under the theme “Creating Anti-Racist Classrooms in 2024”.

The event “is in response to the critical need for fostering inclusive and equitable learning environments. This initiative aims to provide valuable insights and practical tools to empower educators in actively creating anti-racist classrooms and nurturing learners who are committed to the anti-racism cause.”

Register here.

Professor Susan Cleary (HOD of UCT School of Public Health and professor in UCT Health Economics Unit, School of Public Health) will present the second #UCTInauguralLecture for 2024 on Thursday, 14 March 2024, from 5pm  in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, IDM Building, UCT Health Sciences campus.
Members of the university community and public are invited to attend this lecture, titled ‘Bending the arc towards health equity’.
Register here.

Also on Thursday, at 4pm, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Berghof Foundation will host a webinar on the intersection of climate change and transitional justice.

Register here

Friday, 15 March is International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Islamophobia is a fear of and prejudice towards Muslims that lead to intolerance by means of harassment, abuse and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world.

“Motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim,” according to the United Nations.

“Many governments have taken steps to combat Islamophobia by establishing anti-hate crime legislation and measures to prevent and prosecute hate crimes, and by conducting public awareness campaigns about Muslims and Islam designed to dispel negative myths and misconceptions.”

On Saturday, 16 March at 10am there will be a memorial service for Professor Edward Webster at Wits University Great Hall.

To attend in person, RSVP here

To livestream, click here

💼📝📌

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) is looking for a media intern (based in Johannesburg) to support its work and presence on social media platforms. This position offers meaningful and challenging work experience in human rights and social media engagement. The position is limited to three months and is unpaid.

The deadline for applications is 30 March 2024.

Click here for more information and to apply. 

Médecins Sans Frontières is looking for a project manager in Rustenburg. The deadline for applications is 19 March 2024.

Click here for more information and to apply. DM

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