The United Republic of Tanzania is currently in the process of enacting a new constitution. In the text of the final draft of the proposed constitution (http://sheria.go.tz/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=44&Itemid=68) currently being deliberated by the constituent assembly, are interesting proposals to include important social and economic rights (ESR) as justiciable rights. But the specific content of rights and scope of obligations to be incorporated therein is a matter that is likely to be controversial. Indeed, judicial adjudication of ESR is a matter that is often still disputed or even entirely rejected in many national legal systems. Like many other domestic jurisdictions, Tanzania adopts the idealized distinction of human rights and the popular perception remains that, for lack of constitutional recognition, ESR are simply objectives and principles of state policy as opposed to legally enforceable rights. Nonetheless, socio-economic rights occupy a central place in the well-being of the human person and the international community has accordingly recognised a positive international legal framework imposing varied obligations to advance these rights.
This article is a result of field research in Lesotho conducted from 5-12 April 2014.
The Court of Appeal of Lesotho (apex court) gave a decision that will make the hearts of all human rights defenders bleed. The decision is a setback to the fight for equality and for the recognition of women’s rights as human rights.
The case in question is that of SENATE GABASHEANE MASUPHA V. THE SENIOR RESIDENT MAGISTRATE FOR SUBORDINATE COURT OF BEREA & OTHERS. (SENATE’S CASE). The judgment was delivered on 17 April 2014.
The facts of the case in brief are; the appellant is the first daughter and only legal child of the deceased chief in Lesotho. Upon her father’s death, the mother assumed the chieftainship position of the deceased. And not too long, the mother passed on and the appellant sought to inherit the chieftainship of her father which devolved to her late mother, she was denied her right. Her half-brother from another woman who her father had not legally married will be entitled to the said title, based on the fact that women are not allowed to succeed their father with regards to chieftainship matters under the customary law of the Basotho people.
The appellant angered by this discriminatory practice, challenged it at the constitutional court but did not succeed; she appealed the decision at the apex court to enforce her right to chieftainship but also had no success.
On Monday 25 February 2014, Uganda’s long serving president Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 (previously referred to as Kill the Gays Bill”). The Long Title thereof provides that this “Act [is intended] to prohibit any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; prohibit the promotion or recognition of such relations and to provide for other related matters.” Museveni has also, on record, called homosexuals “disgusting and unnatural” persons. The legislation has since received widespread condemnation from human rights organisations and leaders across the globe.
Whereas homosexuality was, since the colonial era, outlawed with the introduction of the British colonial rule and justice system, the new legislation is an all time low. Section 2(2) of the Act provides for a mandatory life sentence for persons convicted of “homosexual acts”. Section 1 of the Act has a wide margin of what constitutes “homosexual acts” such as “the touching of another’s breast, vagina, penis or anus, … however slight …. with any part of the body or through anything”.
Ensuring access to essential medicines through the inclusion of the right to health in the Mauritian ConstitutionPosted: 5 March, 2013 | |
The right to health is protected by various international and regional instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 25), the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (article 12) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (article 16) and being a party to these instruments, Mauritius has the obligation to ensure that its citizens’ right to health is protected. One aspect of the right to health is the right to access essential medicines. Essential medicines have been defined by the World Health Organisation as those which satisfy the health care needs of a majority of the population. In view of fulfilling this right Mauritius, a welfare state, provides for free essential medicines in government hospitals, area health centres and community health centres.