Tuesday, January 17, 2006

HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICAA Great Site For Research and Teaching

Today I would like to tell you about a web site rather than a specific organization. This site is called titled "RESEARCH AND TEACHING ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GENDER ISSUES AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA" and is a collaborative project between the Human Rights & Documentation Center (HRDC) at the University of Namibia, the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Programme in Southern Africa (which is located in Windhoek, Namibia), and Human Rights Internet (HRI) in Ottawa, Canada. In addition, Universities and Organizations throughout southern Africa as well as UNESCO National Commissions and UNESCO field offices in the various southern African countries have participated in this project.

So you technical types will know, the site is hosted at the HRDC and the Department of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Namibia.

One purpose of this site is to foster a network of Universities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Institutes, and other interested parties in southern Africa undertaking activities in one or more of the thematic fields of Human Rights, Gender Issues and Democracy.

The site is also designed to act as a forum to both document and disseminate information regarding Human Rights and Gender Issues and Democracy of concern to the 14 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Those 14 countries, in case you are not that familiar with SADC, are:

DR Congo
South Africa

Country profiles for each of the 14 members of SADC were submitted by a Contributors from each of those countries who were selected following a workshop on Human Rights, Gender Issues and Democracy in Windhoek NA. Those profiles can be found by clicking the various nations found on the map at the Home Page. Each profile contains information on

- Basic Facts
- Historical Background
- Political System
- Human Rights
- Gender Issues
- Democracy
- Institutions and Organizations

The Institutions and Organizations sections are of particular interest because it provides a basis from which one can try to interface with NGOs in the various countries. For example, under the Institutions and Organizations page for the Nation of Botswana, one finds the following listing:

Human Rights

Faculty of Law, University of Botswana
Law Society of Botswana

Gender Issues

Botswana Council of Women
Emang Basadi Women's Association
WilDAF - Botswana
Women & the Law in Southern Africa (WLSA)
Women's Affairs Dept, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
Women's NGO Coalition
WorldView Botswana - Dilomakwati


Democratic Research Project
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) - Botswana Chapter

And all of these organizations except three had links to web pages giving greater detail about these organizations.

To take the matter a little further, if you follow the link provided for the organization "Ditshwanelo" (The Botswana Centre for Human Rights) you will find information about it under the following headings:


Aims & Objectives

Target Groups


Achievements & Publications

Governance & Funding

Another Great Feature of the web site is that it has a section for Teaching Resources in the thematic areas. These are online resources as well as resources that you can obtain from the sources.

Some of the sources for the online resources are:

The Human Rights Education Associates (HREA)

For The Record, (a yearly review of the UN Human Rights System published by Human Rights Internet (HRI).

Partners in Human Rights Education (PIHRE)

The People's Movement for Human Rights Education

The Teaching Human Rights Online (THRO) Educator's Guide

The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

The United Nations Cyber SchoolBus

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Database on Human Rights Education

There is also an impressive list of available publications.

And if you want to find all of the Organizations and Institutions listed in one place, this web site has that also. Just go to their Institutions and Organizations page from their Home Page and you can find them listed by country and thematic area.

There is also a page of a long list of links to other web sites by thematic area. And if you need a "brief introduction" to either Human Rights issues in Southern Africa, Gender Issues in Southern Africa or Democracy Issues in Southern Africa, just follow the links at the home page, and they will take you there.

I could go on and on about this web site, but I want to get back to exploring it some more. So, I am going to leave you with its web address and a strong recommendation that you visit it for yourself if you have an interest in RESEARCH AND TEACHING ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GENDER ISSUES AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA .

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