SA progressive on gender issues – HRW

Kaveel Singh, News24

Johannesburg – While South Africa came in for much criticism in Human Rights Watch’s latest world report, its progressive approach to gender issues was welcomed.”South Africa has a progressive Constitution that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and protects the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people,” the organisation said in its World Report 2017.The annual review of human rights issues around the globe was released in Washington on Thursday.

It lauded the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for taking “significant steps” to improve co-ordination between government and civil society in their efforts to combat violence, including rape and murder, against lesbians and transgender men.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba was praised for banning homophobic US pastor Steven Anderson and members of his church from entering South Africa in September last year.

“They were banned from entering the country because they promote hate speech and advocate social violence.”

Regarding women’s rights and violence against women, Human Rights Watch said rape and domestic violence remained widespread and under-reported.

Although the police’s annual crime statistics showed that sexual offences decreased slightly, by 3%, many gender activists and human rights groups were concerned about the government’s failure to introduce a national strategy to combat violence against women.

– See the full report here.