Anti-women violence: CHRI asks Ramaphosa to spell out plans

Anti-women violence: CHRI asks Ramaphosa to spell out plans

Sept 6, 2019

New Delhi, India

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) today called on South African authorities to take strong action within the law to stop the escalation of violence against women in that country, noting that a major nationwide strike on the issue was gathering extensive public support.

The anger against spiraling sexual violence forced President Cyril Ramaphosa to abandon an address to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town and instead address the protests.  Ramphosa declared his intent to crackdown declaring that ““Enough is enough and we are going to act”.

CHRI urges the President to make clear his plans to tackle this crisis. “We believe that tough laws alone will not work unless they are anchored in a broader transparent effort that asserts the unassailable dignity and equality of women, builds collaboration between the criminal justice system and civil society while pressing for police reforms,” said Sanjoy Hazarika, CHRI’s International Director.

According to news accounts,  at least 137 sexual offences are committed every day in South Africa and a cabinet minister said this week that more  than 30 women were killed by their spouses last month.

The movement against violent attacks on women was highlighted after assaults and hate crimes had surged against “foreigners” in South Africa. President Ramaphosa has said that the attacks, in which at least five persons were killed, were xenophobic. The African Centre for Migration and Society, that monitors instances of xenophobic violence, reported 42 such incidents in 2018 alone.

An official for the country’s national statistics office said there were 3.6 million migrants in a population of over 50 million; some 70% of the former were said to be from neighbouring Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.

Retaliatory incidents have been reported from other African countries, including Nigeria where South African diplomatic missions were temporarily shut, and security beefed up outside South African businesses.

CHRI endorses the concern of the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN) about the latter situation and notes its call for an extraordinary summit of the African Union to take a comprehensive position on xenophobia.


For Further details, contact – Sanjoy Hazarika