In our previous blog The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) we described how UN Member States, civil society organisations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss matters of importance for the rights of women across the world.
South Africa being a member state is represented by Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini who leads a government and civil society delegation that includes Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu. The delegation will present South Africa’s report on the status of social protection system, access to public service, sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in South Africa. Minister Zulu will also participate in some of the ministerial roundtables, high level interactive dialogue and interactive expert panels.
So why is it important to us that they are there? Susan Hutchinson of the Equality Rights Alliance in Australia wrote about this best two years ago when she said the following about why CSW matters:
“It’s an advocacy tool. CSW is an opportunity to bring an international component and lens to issues that organisations and activists advocate on locally and domestically. Having issues you advocate on locally, such as women’s access to affordable housing or access to domestic violence leave, recognised in international frameworks is powerful. This international dimension then adds another point of leverage in the domestic advocacy work we all do. Holding governments to account on the commitments they make at CSW creates additional pressure for policy reform.”
Since CSW presents an opportunity to bring an international component to issues that the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust advocates on locally we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the problem of high rape rates coupled with low conviction rates for rapists in South Africa. Our Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign advocates for the planned and funded rollout of sexual offences courts. These courts are the key to restoring faith in the criminal justice system as well as increasing conviction rates for rape and decreasing the secondary victimisation of rape survivors. Sexual offences courts are sensitive to the needs of the survivor undergoing an intense ordeal. The courts help to get more convictions and send more rapists to jail because they have specially trained court supporters available to support rape survivors when they testify. We need the South African government to provide rooms at courts for court support to take place in private. We need a strong criminal justice system to hold rapists accountable.
With all eyes on CSW63 and our own government delegation attending we hope to make this campaign more visible. You can help us. This is your chance to get South Africa and the issues women face some international attention and leverage.
Social Media Package
- Check out the RSJC webpage and social media pages on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about this important campaign.
- Your experiences and ideas on social protection, public services and infrastructure matter. Tell the world how you want to make a difference using #CSW63. Find our selection of Tweets on sexual offences courts in South Africa below and post them throughout the week. * Tag Minister Zulu on @LindiweZulu6, Minister Dlamini on @shahlesonke and of course @GovernmentZA.
- Some of the South African NGOs represented include Ilitha Labantu, GenderLinks and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa. Follow and tag Ilitha Labantu on @IlithaLabantu,
Colleen Lowe-Morna on @clowemorna from GenderLinks on @GenderLinks and Claudia Lopes on @claudia1lopes and Joy Lange representing the National Shelter Movement of South Africa @NSM_ZA.
Social Media Tools
You can copy and paste this selection of Tweets or Facebook posts in support of improved sexual offences court infrastructure into your Twitter feed this week:
- Sexual offences courts are important as they are sensitive to the survivor and help to get more convictions and send more rapists to jail. We need the #SouthAfricanGovernment to roll out the necessary infrastructure for these courts now! @RSJCampaign #CSW63_SA @shahlesonke
- We advocate for specially trained court supporters to be available to rape survivors when they testify. We need the South African government to provide rooms at courts for court support to take place in private. @RSJCampaign #CSW63_SA #CSW63 @CSW63
- #SouthAfrica has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. This needs to change! We need a strong criminal justice system with specialised courts. @RSJCampaign #CSW63_SA #CSW63 @RapeCrisis @shahlesonke @Government_ZA
-Written by Kathleen Dey