YOU(TH) FOR YOU(TH)

Welcome to the third edition of You(th) for You(th) for 2023!

April is all about freedom! But is anyone truly free if their human rights are not realised? Let us know what you think by dropping an email to youth@amnesty.org.za.

A fundamental human right is the right to life but tragically many people are losing their lives in South Africa on a daily basis with an average of 82 people per day being murdered. Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) believes that impunity for these murders must stop immediately because each and every life lost was valuable. The government has a responsibility to create a safe environment for all.

How can the government do this? Listen to AISA member and former president of Amnesty International Wits University Chapter Sthuthukile Conco give us her thoughts, and share your ideas on how the government can make South Africa safer too.

Just like all people in South Africa deserve to be free, so do the Palestinian people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This edition includes a new report from Amnesty International on how facial recognition fragments, segregates and controls Palestinians in the OPT.

Automated Apartheid is call-to-action to those of us living in South Africa because, just like the world came together to bring down the apartheid regime in our country, so too must the world unite to end apartheid in the OPT.

We also unpack President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recently (withdrawn) statement that South Africa would be withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC). You can read what we think about this, and also watch Sibusiso Khasa, Amnesty International South Africa’s campaigner, discuss our stance on Newzroom Afrika.

But it’s not all darkness! As reported in the previous edition, the Digital Disruptors turned Orange Farm pink on Thursday, 6 April, with the launch of The Pink Spot, an impactful installation that tackles gender-based violence (GBV) at a GBV hotspot in the township.

We hope you enjoy this edition of You(th) for You(th)!

If you have ideas of what you would like to read about, please send us an email with your suggestions to youth@amnesty.org.za

Matla! Ke a rona (the power is ours!)

The Ultimate Human Right: The Right to Life

April may be the month of freedom but, in 2023, it was also, tragically, a month where many people lost their lives.

In response to reports of a family of ten people killed in their Pietermaritzburg home, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, said:

“We’ve seen the killing of Loyiso Nkohla in Cape Town, the reported mass murder of ten family members in Pietermaritzburg, and the murder and mutilation of two young boys in Soweto, and these are only the murders that have been widely reported on. According to the latest quarterly crime statistics an average of 82 people are murdered in South Africa every day. No-one is safe here.

“Government continues to fail in its constitutional mandate to create a safe environment for all. The rights to life and security of the person – enshrined in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – are violated daily and it must stop.

“The impunity with which killings are carried out is exacerbating the situation and urgent action is needed from the government, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), who have a duty to protect everyone who lives in this country. It is the SAPS’s responsibility to conduct thorough, efficient and transparent investigations into all killings, including this most recent mass murder, and ensure that the perpetrators are charged in accordance with the law.

“We can no longer allow horrendous crimes to continue with impunity, the justice system must begin to act as a deterrent,” she added.

Gun-related violence threatens our most fundamental human right – the right to life. Easy access to firearms, whether legal or illegal, is one of the main drivers of gun violence. People must be able to live their lives fully, freely and without fear.

According to the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), multiple murders are incidents of violence in which two or more people are killed. The ISS has calculated that the number of incidents in which three or more people were killed in 2022 was 140% higher than in 2019/20. According to Gun Free South Africa, a big driver of rising multiple murders is the increased use of firearms.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele released figures on mass murders on 27 March 2023 in response to a question in Parliament. According to these figures, 5,709 people were killed in 2,446 multiple murder incidents between April 2019 and December 2022.

These figures are shocking.

The right to life must be realised for all people living in South Africa if we are to be truly free.

Activist Voices

WHAT SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT DO TO MAKE SOUTH AFRICA SAFER?

Watch Sthuthukile Conco, an AISA member and former deputy President of Amnesty International Wits, tell us what she thinks should be done. 

Share your thoughts with her and with us below. 

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

What do you think the government should do to make South Africa safer?


Amnesty International believes that the South African government is failing to curb continued killings in the country.

The government must act decisively to protect the lives of citizens.

Watch Mienke Steytler, Amnesty International SA spokesperson, elaborate on Newzroom Afrika.

Automated Apartheid: #EndIsraeliApartheidNow

The Israeli authorities are using an experimental facial recognition system known as Red Wolf to track Palestinians and automate harsh restrictions on their freedom of movement.

In a new report, Automated Apartheid, Amnesty International documents how Red Wolf is part of an ever-growing surveillance network which is entrenching the Israeli government’s control over Palestinians, and which helps to maintain Israel’s system of apartheid.

Red Wolf is deployed at military checkpoints in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where it scans Palestinians’ faces and adds them to vast surveillance databases without their consent.

Download and read the report here.

Take action and call for an end to #IsraeliApartheid here.

In the same way that everyone living in South Africa has the right to life, the right to security of the person and the right to freedom of movement, all people living in the OPT also have human rights.

But that is not their daily reality.

Watch this film and join Amnesty International in campaign #BanTheScan.

Be a anti-racism ally

Apartheid is racism, whether it is in South Africa, in the OPT, or anywhere in the world.

The definition of apartheid is the implementation and maintenance of a system of legalised racial segregation in which one racial group is deprived of political and civil rights.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Racism must be abhorred wherever it occurs.

Each one of us must stand up to racism and be anti-racism allies.

Human Rights in Africa

Sudan: New conflict escalation exacerbates 20 years of suffering for civilians in Darfur

As the escalation in violence between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) spreads throughout Sudan, civilians in Darfur continue to suffer due to the country’s authorities failure to provide security, and their inability to deliver justice and accountability for war crimes and other violations 20 years after the Darfur conflict began.

The Darfur conflict erupted on 25 April 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement attacked Sudanese military forces at the al-Fashir airport in North Darfur.

In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions more displaced as the war raged between rebel forces and the military.

Longstanding impunity has allowed those suspected of war crimes in Darfur to remain in leadership positions today, contributing to the current violence in Sudan.

Amnesty International is calling for all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and the safe passage of humanitarian aid.

Read more about Amnesty International’s work on Sudan here.

South Africa and the International Criminal Court

On Tuesday, 25 April, President Ramaphosa referred to Amnesty International when he announced that South Africa should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a remark that has since been clarified as an “error”, but that has grave repercussions.

Amnesty has advocated for the establishment of a worldwide system of international justice to step in when states cannot or will not act, including campaigning for the establishment and effective operation of the ICC.

We firmly believe that the ICC can play a unique role in pursuing justice for victims of crimes under international law and in investigating and prosecuting those suspected of responsibility for such crimes, without fear or favour, no matter how great the political or economic power of certain actors.

International justice means ensuring accountability for crimes under international law like genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances, and securing truth and reparations for victims.

There are many reasons why victims of these crimes are denied justice. They include a lack of political will to investigate such crimes and prosecute those thought to be responsible, weak criminal justice systems, and the marginalisation of victims in society.

As a result, perpetrators may not be held to account and may even continue to hold positions in which they can commit violations or prevent accountability; victims are left to suffer; and few efforts are made to establish the truth or take steps to ensure that the crimes are never repeated.

In these cases, international justice mechanisms like the ICC can step in to ensure that crimes are properly investigated, that perpetrators are brought to justice, and victims receive reparation to address the harm done.

Amnesty International, however, holds international justice institutions to account, even the ICC, and has highlighted several recent decisions and practices which appear to beg the question of whether its principles applied equally to victims of crimes under international law in any situation or region.

For example, in 2020 the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) that sits in the ICC decided not to investigate war crimes by UK forces in Iraq, despite its own finding that these crimes had been committed. This was followed by a decision in 2021 to deprioritise an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan by US and Afghan national forces, citing budget constraints.”

Amnesty International has called on the ICC to ensure that all funding is allocated in a non-discriminatory way and in accordance with the interests of justice, and to ensure that all victims of serious crimes have equal access to the rights to remedy and reparations.

Amnesty International supports mechanisms of international justice such as the ICC. Where states wish to raise legitimate concerns about the Court, including perceptions of principles not being applied equally in its approach, we insist that they do so within the Assembly of States Parties, in the spirit of cooperation and support, while respecting the ICC’s independence.

South Africa remains a crucially important ICC member state, and it should be at the vanguard of attempts to prevent crimes under international law and prosecute perpetrators. International mechanisms such as the ICC are essential for justice, truth, full reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence for victims and survivors of serious crimes everywhere.

Read more about the ICC and how it works here.

Read more about Amnesty International’s work on international justice here.

Watch Sibusiso Khasa, Amnesty International South Africa’s campaigner, talk about the ICC and Amnesty’s stance on Newzroom Afrika below.

Human Rights Wins!

Digital Disruptors Did It Again!

On Thursday, 6 April, Orange Farm turned PINK! 

Amnesty International South Africa worked with the Digital Disruptors to #DisruptGBV in a recognised hotspot in the area.

‘The Pink Spot’ lights up, raises awareness around #GBV and provides resources for counselling and legal services.

Images© Tshepiso Seleke 2023

Free Human Rights Courses Just For You!

Deconstructing Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians

The course will give you a basic understanding of the international human rights laws and standards applicable to the police.

Through exercises, Amnesty research material, videos, and self-directed learning resources, you will take a detailed look at a wide range of topics related to police and human rights.

Climate Change and Human Rights

This course offers an in-depth look at the relationship between human rights and climate change.

THANK YOU

Thank you for your contribution to Amnesty International South Africa and to this newsletter.

This edition’s main takeaway? That the realisation of fundamental human rights for all means freedom for all.

Do you want to be part of this?

Take action here and check out the info and videos below.

Want to be part of the Amnesty International
South Africa community?

WATCH THIS AND FIND OUT HOW

Want to start an Amnesty chapter?

Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) has 10 university chapters and five community chapters. If you would like to start a chapter in your community or on campus, please contact AISA’s Activism Coordinator: Organising Jaclyn Modise on jaclyn.modise@amnesty.org.za for more information.

BECOME A VOTING MEMBER TODAY AND HELP STEER AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SOUTH AFRICA’S FUTURE.

Ready to stand up and defend justice, freedom and equality for all? Believe in people power? Eager to use your passion for human rights to help shape our movement?

Our members make change possible. They’re the people we call on whenever and wherever human rights are under attack. Their actions, big and small, put pressure on governments, institutions and decision-makers to do the right thing.

Interrupt Gender-Based Violence


Campaign locationSouth Africa

In South Africa a woman is murdered every three hours. We need more people reporting crimes of GBV and calling out the toxic social and cultural norms that exist at every level of society.