Human Rights Watch: Nelson Mandela legacy under threat

2014-01-21 14:09

The legacy of former president Nelson Mandela is under threat, says Tiseke Kasambala, director of Human Rights Watch in Southern Africa.

Kasambala, along with her colleagues, Graeme Reid and Dewa Mavhinga, presented the results from the investigative work carried out by the organisation’s staff in 2013 in Rosebank, Joburg, today.

Kasambala said South Africa was a beacon of hope in Africa in the manner that it had promoted human rights in the past 20 years, but said the country was taking a turn for the worse.

“Attacks on peaceful protesters by police, the lax attitude of government to xenophobic attacks on foreigners and attacks on free media are some of the things that are causing South Africa to slide in the protection of human rights,” she said.

Here are four things worth knowing from the 667-page world report:

» Zimbabwe is in crisis. Mavhinga predicted a possible coup in Zimbabwe should Robert Mugabe pass away following his illness. “Mugabe must plan his succession. There could be a coup because the military is very politicised.”

» Training is considered key to dealing with the South African Police Service’s actions during protests, which are “getting out of hand”.

» Of the 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality, 38 are on the African continent.

According to Reid, although the LGBT community has become more visible in Africa, threats on their lives have intensified.

Two trends can be seen in Africa in the manner that homosexuality is treated.

“Either countries protect the LGBT community or they promote state-sponsored homophobia to divert from political shortcomings,” explained Reid.

» South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria are among the countries where human rights violations are rife. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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