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AFRIK-IT  October 1995

AFRIK-IT October 1995

Subject:

URGENT - PRESS RELEASE

From:

David Lush - MISA <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Wed, 25 Oct 1995 18:10:00 GMT+0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

URGENT PRESS STATEMENT/CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS - PLEASE CIRCULATE
ON MISANET/SANGONET ASAP!
 
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOUR ORGANIZATION AGREES WITH THE CALL CONTAINED
WITHIN THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT FOR DISCUSSIONS TO BEGIN AMONGST
SOUTHERN AFRICA NGOS ABOUT ESTABLISHING A STANDING REGIONAL
NETWORK OR FORUM, IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ENDORSE THE STATEMENT. IF
YOU WISH TO DO SO BEFORE THE STATEMENT IS HANDED TO SADC ON 27
OCTOBER, PLEASE CONTACT DITSHWANELO - THE BOTSWANA CENTRE FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS ON TEL: 267 306998 OR FAX: 267 307778 URGENTLY.
 
TEXT OF PRESS STATEMENT FOLLOWS:
 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
COME TOGETHER TO CALL FOR REGIONAL ACTION TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS
 
 
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights and Amnesty
International will be presenting a statement to Mr LB Monyake,
Deputy Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) in Gaborone, Botswana, on 27 October. The
statement calls upon SADC member states (Angola, Botswana,
Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,
Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to turn their stated
commitment on the importance of regional human rights protection
into action. This statement has been endorsed by a range of human
rights groups across the SADC region (see below for list and how
you can add your name to those who have endorsed the statement).
 
The signatories of the statement call for:
 
a) all SADC member states to ratify existing international human
rights treaties (charters, conventions, covenants or protocols)
and to fulfil their obligations under them. This would establish
a `common standard' for regional human rights protection on which
to build for the future. The record of SADC governments on
ratification is mixed, with some having a very poor record.
 
b) SADC member states to actively involve civil society within
Southern Africa in building human rights across the region. As an
immediate priority, they call upon SADC to organize a follow-up
workshop to the July 1994 Windhoek Workshop on Democracy, Peace
and Security. This workshop, held in Windhoek, Namibia, involved
government ministers responsible for foreign affairs, defence,
security and police, non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
parliamentarians and representatives of political parties. The
workshop discussed different human rights issues in the region
and prepared recommendations to be considered by the SADC Council
of Ministers in August 1994. These included the establishment of
an autonomous and permanent commission for human rights and the
establishment of a Bill of Rights in Southern Africa. These
resolutions could be a promising foundation for the building of a
human rights culture across the region.
 
Southern African human rights groups which have endorsed the
statement call for all human rights groups within the region to
work urgently towards the establishment of a standing NGO network
or forum. This is necessitated by the lack of structured
networking on human rights issues between NGOs in the SADC region
and between NGOs and governments. The establishment of a regional
network body would promote dialogue and action on human  rights
in all SADC states. The network would be in a position to lobby
SADC on the basis of agreed common positions on regional human
rights issues.
 
The statement also declares that human rights issues in Southern
Africa cannot and should not be left to governments alone. It is
vital for SADC governments to demonstrate their commitment to
regional human rights protection, for example, through ratifying
international human rights treaties. It is no less important for
human rights groups within the region to mobilize and cooperate and
to seek genuine partnership with governments in what must be a
common endeavour if a true human rights culture is to be
achievable and sustainable.
 
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS WHICH HAVE ENDORSED THE STATEMENT AS OF 25
OCTOBER 1995:
 
AFRONET                                 Zambia
Zimrights                               Zimbabwe
Human Rights League of Mozambique       Mozambique
CARER                                   Malawi
Malawi Institute of Democratic and
        Economic Affairs                Malawi
The Muslim Association of Malawi        Malawi
The Public Affairs Committee            Malawi
The Centre for Human Rights and
        Rehabilitation                  Malawi
The Society for the Advancement
        of Women                        Malawi
Forum on Sustainable Agriculture        Botswana
        (FONSAG)
Mambo Arts Commune                      Botswana
Kuru Development Trust                  Botswana
Botswana Red Cross Society              Botswana
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for
Human Rights                            Botswana
 
Amnesty International
 
David Lush
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Private Bag 13386
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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