Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape

The Community Law Centre specialises in democratic values and human rights of South Africa's Constitution, emphasising children's rights, gender,local government and socio-economic rights.

4th International Human Rights Academy

The Human Rights Centre of Ghent University (Belgium), the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), the Faculty of Law of University of the Western Cape (South Africa) and the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations (IFHHRO) have pleasure in announcing the 4th International Human Rights Academy which will take place in Cape Town South Africa.

Dimensions Poverty Post-Apartheid South Africa of in 1996-2001 - A Poverty Status Report

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Poverty takes on multiple dimensions and in essence describes a state of deprivation that prevents an individual from attaining some minimum socially acceptable standard of living. This state of deprivation can therefore be measured in a number of ways and according to various approaches.

The most commonly used method of profiling poverty in a society involves firstly establishing the minimum amount of money required to meet the cost of an individuals (or households) basic needs, which would include a food and non-food component. This poverty line is then utilised in conjunction with specific measures of poverty to develop an appropriate description of indigence in the society. However, poverty lines are difficult to measure and the choice of line often imprecise. Furthermore, indices are often subjective and arbitrary in the choice of variables or weights used in their construction. Yet another way of comparing relative wellbeing of pre-defined groups is the poverty dominance approach. In this type of analysis, no poverty lines are used, but groups are measured against each other in terms of chosen indicators such as income levels or access to certain assets or services. Using income as an example, the dominance method graphically depicts the cumulative proportion of those with access to each and every income level, for each group being considered. If it is shown that one groups cumulative distribution combined in some instances with poverty always falls bove or below anothers, strong statements can be made about relative wellbeing. For example, in the case of income, it could then be stated that one group is better off than another for each and every income poverty line chosen.

WSSD Final Plan Reaffirms Importance of Saving Women's Lives

Johannesburg, Sep. 4 Women have held their own at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which ended today with a promise by the 7,000 delegates to reduce poverty while protecting Earth’s environment. The victory reinstated language affirming women’s rights that has been included in United Nations conference documents since 1993 but that was absent from this summit’s draft document. Conservative delegates backed by the Vatican and the United States, among others, fought until late Tuesday to keep a reference to human rights out of the list of elements that the document said should be considered in providing health services to women. Without such language, Zeitlin and others said, the document would have named only “cultural and religious values” as considerations, leaving countries free to continue such practices as female genital mutilation or denying health care to women as cultural values. The Bush administration said it opposed adding the language on procedural grounds. Delegates from South Africa and Barbados were among the strongest advocates for including the human rights phrase in the draft document’s Paragraph 47, which describes elements that should be considered in providing health care for women as part of promoting sustainable development. Defeat on this issue would have represented a rollback on women’s rights from language approved by UN conferences in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999 and 2000. Opponents of women’s rights would also have cited the Johannesburg language as the new standard for documents from future gatherings. “We are very happy with the final document and its recognition that women’s human rights are a critical element of reproductive health care around the world,” said Stirling Scruggs, spokesperson for UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, which is active in providing such care to women in more than 140 countries.(PLANetWIRE,Johannesburg, Sep.4)