By Mfezi Mjwara
March is Human Rights month and 21 March is Human Rights day. There are several measures and initiatives which are utilized world-wide aimed at mitigating Human Rights violation. A very strong stand is taken on a daily basis across the African continent to fight against human rights violation and gender based violence.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is one example of an initiative focused at strengthening the fight against gender-based violence of which is a national crisis in South Africa.
Human Rights definition-“Human rights are a set of principles concerned with equality and fairness. They recognise our freedom to make choices about our lives and to develop our potential as human beings. They are about living a life free from fear, harassment or discrimination. Human rights can broadly be defined as a number of basic rights that people from around the world have agreed are essential. These include the right to life, the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights to health, education and an adequate standard of living” (Australian Human Rights Comminssion, 2023).
Gender-based violence- According to Mile (Mile, 2023), gender-based violence is directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex or gender identity. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.” Although GBV can occur towards any gender, Violence Against Women (VAW) by men has been, and remains the most prevalent form of GBV, especially in South Africa.
The University of KwaZulu Natal ensures that all students and employees are able to enjoy their rights and there is less gender-based violence in the institution. This is because a special prominence which includes gender-based violence awareness and action campaigns are exercised for the purpose of mitigating GBV in UKZN throughout the whole year. Again, the University of KwaZulu Natal Libraries is not only about books but also continues to emphasize the important role of gender equality by providing a series of GBV programs, Human Rights library displays & GBV awareness blogs for students and staff. There are programs offered in the institution which assist in maintaining risks pertaining gender-based violence whilst at work, such programs are streamed online for example (Code of Good Practice on the prevention & elimination of harassment in the workplace by Adv. Pushpa Naidu).
UKZN also has a legal services department that caters for legal support to the University in contracts management, litigation management, copyright management, student discipline management, gender-based violence, human rights violation matters, protection from legal risk, and the provision of general legal advice to University Management.
USEFUL LINKS TO FURTHER READING
Archives and human rights - https://ukzn.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1224044165
UKZN Gender based violence awareness and prevention programs -https://ukzn.ac.za/gender-based-violence-awareness-and-prevention-programmes/
UKZN Legal Services - https://legalservices.ukzn.ac.za/
Culture, citizenship and human rights - https://ukzn.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1125276387
Patriarchy at the helm of gender-based violence during COVID-19 - 10.3934/publichealth.2021003
Gender-based violence and environment linkages - https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.CH.2020.03.en
Forced marriages in Europe: a form of gender-based violence and violation of human rights - 10.17561/tahrj.v14.5474
UKZN Gender based violence speak-up - https://www.ukzn.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GBV.pdf
Gender based violence: a South African plague - 10.13140/RG.2.2.13157.42724
Australian Human Rights Comminssion. (2023). An Introduction to Human Rights. Retrieved 27 February from https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/education/introduction-human-rights
Mile, K. (2023). Gender Based Violence: A South African Plague. ResearchGate. Retrieved 27 February fromhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/344748162_Gender_Based_Violence_A_South_African_Plague
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