By Ndumiso Mlilo JOHANNESBURG South
Africa (Xinhua) -- The Pan-African
Parliament (PAP) ended their 10-day robust discussions on
Saturday with various resolutions to advance the continent.
The African Union (AU)’s
legislative body had deliberated various issues since March 2 in
Johannesburg. PAP and the Nairobi-based Pan African Climate
Justice Alliance (PACJA) decided to initiate a process to have
AU members adopt integrated climate-related legislation. PAP
also agreed to domesticate the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
adopted in 2015.
“We want to have a
unified legislation on climate change as a continent to lessen
the impact of climate change and PAP will lead that process,”
PAP Vice President Bernadette Lahai told Xinhua.
Lahai said they also
agreed to ensure youths’ role in shaping the future of the
continent. African youths will meet later this year to discuss
various issues like immigration, peace and security.
She said PAP, PACJA
and the Pan-African Parliamentarians’ Network on Climate Change
(PAPNCC) will meet to devise a policy and legislation on climate
PAP also called on
African countries to combat gender-based violence through
Hasna Houmed Bilil,
chairperson of PAP’s Permanent Committee on Gender, Family,
Youth and People with Disability, said some governments have not
shown any political will to carry out regulations and tackle
abuse against women.
“The parliament has
an important role in safeguarding the implementation of the
reforms and laws,” Bilil said.
PAP called on its
members to establish systemic capacity building at the
institutional level in order to understand and champion gender
issues. The parliament also asked for a repeal of the laws that
discriminate against women.
Moreover, PAP called
for integrated legislation to fight an increase of electronic
waste. PAP said that children in some African countries work in
hazardous places (e-waste dumps) where they are exposed to the
dangers of the effluent and fumes.
parliamentarians were also resolved to promote greater regional
and continental integration by stepping up the pace of
introducing a common passport that will allow visa-free travel
to member states.
PAP had in the past
asked African governments to adopt and ratify a PAP protocol to
grant the legislative body relevant legislative powers. However,
the process of ratifying the PAP protocol has been slow, said
PAP President Roger Nkodo Dang.
Dang said that it is
a grave concern for the continental parliament that some three
years after the AU adopted PAP’s new protocol, the ratification
process remains slow in African member countries.
Currently, PAP is
unable to play its expected pivotal role in promoting Africa’s
integration and steering the social, political and economic
development of the continent since AU members have failed to
ratify the protocol.
PAP needs 28 member
states to ratify its protocol but only 14 out of the 54 AU
members have done so.
parliamentarians also discussed how to combat terrorism, promote
intra-Africa trade and security, as well as address illicit
women’s group drops out of global
UN meeting to protest new U.S. travel ban
NEW YORK United States (Xinhua) --
The International Women’s Health Coalition
(IWHC), a global organization committed to ensuring health of
women, on Friday said that it is “deeply saddened” that a South
African women’s group decided to drop out of a UN meeting on
women’s rights in order to protest the new travel ban signed by
U.S. President Donald Trump.
IWHC said in a press
release here that its partner, the South African organization,
Masimanyane Women’s Rights International, has canceled its
participation in a meeting of the United Nations Commission on
the Status of Women (CSW).
“This annual meeting
is an important global gathering of diplomats, international
delegates, and women’s rights advocates that plays a crucial
role in determining the focus of the global women’s agenda and
its progress,” the press release said. The annual CSW meeting is
to take place at UN Headquarters in New York on March 13-24.
international advocacy organization working to strengthen
women’s rights, reduce HIV/AIDS, and eradicate violence against
women, has made this decision in response to the Trump
Administration’s executive orders targeting women, refugees,
travelers, and immigrants.
In a statement, the
organization denounced the U.S. travel ban targeting
predominantly Muslim countries, for denying the right of women
from United Nations member states to participate in the global
Masimanyane’s decision is an expression of solidarity with the
women and advocates of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and
Yemen,” the press release said.
“IWHC believes that
the Trump Administration’s executive orders display a
fundamental disrespect for women, racial justice, equality,
religious tolerance, and human rights,” the press release said.
“Women migrants and refugees, women of color, women living in
poverty, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and other
marginalized groups will bear the brunt of this Administration’s
As a global
organization committed to ensuring that women can control their
own their bodies and determine their own futures, IWHC is
working to oppose policies by the Trump Administration that
violate human rights and roll back progress for women and girls.
participating in CSW deliberations to ensure that access to
sexual and reproductive health remains on the agenda. Family
planning is essential for women’s participation in the
workforce, which is the special focus of this year’s gathering.
The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of
Women, is the second held since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda,
which puts women at the core of a globally agreed set of
development goals and targets.
has learned that a number of advocates from various countries
have been denied visas to participate in the multilateral
meetings held at CSW,” the press release said. “Each year, IWHC
trains advocates from various countries ahead of the
negotiations at CSW.”
The CSW is the
principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to
the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
“The organization is
closely monitoring problems involving visas and entry to the
United States,” the press release added.
On Tuesday, the UN
high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, voiced his
concern about the new U.S. rules, known as the Executive Order
signed on Monday by U.S. President Trump, stressing the need to
protect people fleeing deadly violence, a UN spokesman told
The new executive
order prevents nationals of six Muslim countries from entering
the United States, excluding Iraq from the list of a previous
The new document
maintained a 90-day ban on nationals of Syria, Yemen, Sudan,
Libya, Iran and Somalia from entering the United States,
effective from March 16.
In addition to the
travel ban, the order also suspended granting refugee status for
120 days after the effective date. Syrian refugees, which were
singled out in the original version as being banned
indefinitely, will be given the same treatment with refugees of
Trump signed a
similar executive order on Jan. 27, which imposed a ban on
nationals of seven Muslim countries to enter the United States
for 90 days, refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees
A federal judge of
the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington
later slapped a nationwide restraining order on the travel ban,
and the ruling was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco.
South Africa intensifies
crackdown on child pornography
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The South African Police Service (SAPS) vowed on
Friday to intensify the fight against child pornography
following the first sentence of an offender convicted of child
The SAPS, with its
links through Interpol to police services across the globe, is
playing an important role in fighting child pornography, said
Acting SAPS National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso
He was speaking
after the Port Elizabeth Regional Court sentenced 33-year-old
Jayde Sheldon Bailey to a five-year imprisonment for the
distribution and possession of child pornography.
It is the first time
in the country that an accused has been sentenced to direct
imprisonment for the distribution and possession of child
pornography images. Previously, the accused have either been
fined or received a suspended sentence, or both a fine and a
In March 2015, a
team of detectives from the Family Violence, Child Protection
and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit of the SAPS arrested the suspect
at his residence in Port Elizabeth after he was found in
possession of thousands of child pornography images and videos.
His arrest was followed by the arrest of his then girlfriend,
who is now his wife.
The case of the wife
of the accused is still continuing and her case has also been
postponed to March 27 this year in a different court.
The justice system
in South Africa has acknowledged that the possession of child
pornography is a serious and disturbing offence that deserves
Bailey’s sentence, saying this sentence sends a strong message
out to those who prey on vulnerable children and youth.
“This is indeed a
landmark case,” he noted.
“We commend our FCS
Unit and our justice system for their sterling efforts in
bringing these and similar perpetrators to book.”
that the SAPS will work harder to identify and bring cyber-sex
pests and other sexual offenders before courts of law and to
ensure that justice prevails.