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Recommendations for South Africa

STATEMENT 10, May 2017

The Norwegian delegation would like to thank the South African delegation for its presentation. Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has strongly supported the international human rights system, and its Constitution and democratic institutions enjoy international acclaim for the role they play in furthering human rights domestically.

Norway recommends South Africa build on its rule of law-tradition to actively combat corruption and other obstacles to the economic and social rights, civil and political rights of its people.

 The UN Special rapporteur on violence against women reports that gender-based violence continues to be highly prevalent in South Africa. We recommend South Africa conduct a thorough investigation of the root causes of gender-based violence, and base future policy interventions on the results.

While South Africa has strong legal protection of LGBTI rights, the UN Special rapporteur on violence against women reports that lesbians and transgender persons in particular continue to be victims of violence. Norway recommends South Africa expedite the adoption of the Hate Crime and Hate Speech Bill, ensuring a strong legal framework against such crimes.

Norway notes that unacceptable conditions have been reported in some South African prisons and mental health institutions. We recommend South Africa ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, opening up for international inspections of places of detention.

Thank you.

Advance questions

1.In the last UPR hearing, South Africa accepted Norway’s recommendation to take concrete measures to improve the protection of women against gender-based violence, and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. What has been done in this regard?

2. What is the status of the Protection of State Information Bill, and has adjustments been made to ensure that it fully complies with international human rights law, particularly relating to the freedom of opinion and expression?

3. Strong legal mechanisms against hate crimes are urgently needed in South Africa, yet the Hate Crime and Hate Speech Bill is still not ready for adoption despite years of preparations. Norway understands that challenges relating to the hate speech part of the bill is the main cause of the delay. Is South Africa considering separating the bill into one Hate Crimes Bill and one Hate Speech Bill, to ensure that a strong legal mechanism against hate crimes is speedily introduced?

4. Most African countries have achieved substantial improvements in maternal mortality ratios, but South Africa seems to be experiencing an increasing number of deaths (108 per 100 000 in 1990, 138 per 100 000 in 2015). What can be done to improve South Africa’s maternal mortality ratio?