Ongoing Cases

Malawi: Litigation to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts

In September 2013, the Blantyre High Court issued a notice requesting amicus curiae submissions on whether the offence of sodomy is constitutional. SALC assisted a local organisation, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), to file a submission which argues that the offence of sodomy, to the extent that it does not distinguish between consensual and non-consensual .. » Read More

Swaziland: Activists Challenge Constitutionality of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act

SALC is supporting three individuals who were charged with sedition for allegedly participating in a march that encouraged Swazis to boycott the 2013 national elections. The definition of sedition in the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act is extremely broad and vague, and this lack of clarity over what conduct is prohibited by the legislation has enabled Swazi authorities to use .. » Read More

Zimbabwe: Challenging Unlawful Arrest of a Transgender Woman

On 16 January 2014 a transgender activist was arrested in Bulawayo after entering a female toilet. At the police station she was forced to strip and examined by medical doctors to verify her gender. After spending two nights in a holding cell, she was charged with criminal nuisance. SALC is providing support to the woman to pursue a claim for .. » Read More

Swaziland: Challenging the Suppression of Terrorism Act and the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act

Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini were arrested on 1 May 2014 after participating in a May Day gathering in Manzini. Masuku spoke at the gathering and Dlamini participated in the singing of songs, and both used the gathering to draw attention to various challenges facing Swaziland. They were charged with two charges of contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act, and .. » Read More

South Africa: Challenging NPA inaction for TRC related prosecutions

Nkadimeng v the National Director of Public Prosecutions and others SALC is supporting the family of Nokuthula Simelane to compel the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to either refer the disappearance of anti-apartheid activist Nokuthula Simelane for an inquest or to make a decision whether to prosecute. Nokuthula Simelane was abducted, tortured and forcibly disappeared in 1983 by members of the Security Branch of .. » Read More

SOUTH AFRICA/SUDAN: SEEKING IMPLEMENTATION OF ICC ARREST WARRANT FOR PRESIDENT BASHIR

SALC sought the implementation of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir who arrived in South Africa for the African Union (AU) summit that took place in Johannesburg 7-15 June 2015. The International Criminal Court (ICC)  issued a warrant for his arrest  in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur .. » Read More

SOUTH AFRICA: SUPPORTING REGIONAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE

SALC will be making amicus submissions before the High Court in the matter of the Law Society of South Africa vs the President and Others. In August 2014 the new SADC Tribunal Protocol was signed by President Jacob Zuma. Under this protocol the SADC Tribunal is only permitted to hear inter-state disputes, removing the previous access granted to individual citizens .. » Read More

Botswana: Appointment of judges and procedures of the Judicial Service Commission

In 2015, the Law Society of Botswana brought an application in the Gaborone High Court challenging the process of appointment of judges to the High Court in Botswana. The case focused on the interpretation of section 96(2) of the Constitution of Botswana, which provides that "judges of the High Court shall be appointed by the President, acting in accordance with .. » Read More

MALAWI: CHALLENGING CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ROGUE AND VAGABOND OFFENCE

In March 2015, the applicant was arrested by police whilst on his way to the market where he works as a street vendor. He was charged with the offence of being a rogue and vagabond. Section 184(1)(c) of the Penal Code provides that "every person in or upon or near any premises or in any road or highway or any .. » Read More

Malawi: A right to palliative care for remandees

SALC is working with the Centre for Human Rights Education Advocacy and Advice (CHREAA), building on previous work establishing a right to bail for terminally ill remandees, to develop a right to palliative care for persons in detention in Malawi. The applicant was a remand detainee at Maula prison who was in terminal liver failure. Two medical reports documented the inability of facilities .. » Read More

MALAWI: CHALLENGING THE USE OF THE OFFENCE OF LIVING ON THE EARNINGS OF PROSTITUTION

In February 2016, 19 women were arrested and charged with the offence of living on the earnings of prostitution contrary to section 146 of the Penal Code. The women pleaded guilty to the charges and they were convicted upon those pleas and sentenced to a fine. SALC and the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) supported the women .. » Read More

BOTSWANA: PROTECTING WOMEN’S INHERITANCE RIGHTS UNDER CUSTOMARY LAW

SALC is working with Rantao and Kewagamang Attorneys to assist an adult woman, who is a daughter and only surviving child, to challenge the decision of the Customary Court of Appeal that awarded her deceased parents’ house to her two nieces. In awarding her deceased parents’ house to her two nieces, the Court reasoned that under the Kgatla Customary Law, .. » Read More

ZIMBABWE: PROTECTING WOMEN’S RIGHTS TO MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY

SALC is working with Women and Law in Southern Africa –Zimbabwe (WLSA – Zimbabwe) to challenge the decision of the Master of the High Court (Master) that approved a distribution plan awarding a farm equally amongst the surviving spouse and all the 10 children to the deceased husband, thereby reducing the surviving spouse’s share to that of a child. The .. » Read More

ZAMBIA: CHALLENGING FORCED EVICTION TO STRENGTHEN AND PROTECT LAND RIGHTS OF THOSE LIVING ON CUSTOMARY LAND AND INFORMAL SETTLMENTS

SALC is working with the Zambia Land Alliance to challenge the newly created Chikankata District Council’s taking over of individual farms and the grazing land of a community of 4429 people without following the legal and constitutional procedures. No compensation, whether in the form of money or alternative land, was provided to affected community members. Upon taking over of the .. » Read More

MALAWI: PROTECTING WOMEN FROM ILLEGAL LAND SEIZURE

SALC is working with Youth Watch Society (YOWSO) to help a poor single woman, Mary, and her widowed mother, Idesi retain the land that they inherited from their deceased father and husband respectively. After inheriting the land in 2006, Mary and her mother have been using it to grow and sell sugar cane. The land was their only source of .. » Read More

SWAZILAND: CHALLENGE TO THE COMMON LAW MARITAL POWER AND MARRIAGE ACT

SALC is working with Women and Law in Southern Africa’s Swaziland chapter (WLSA-Swaziland) on a case challenging the common law marital power and the Marriage Act of 1964. Under the common law marital power, a married woman cannot conclude contracts without her husband’s permission, she cannot represent herself in civil suits, and she cannot administer property. This restriction on the .. » Read More

SOUTH AFRICA: CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ICC WITHDRAWAL

On 21 October 2016 the South African government announced that it had deposited its instrument of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the United Nations Secretary General.  This was done without the necessary parliamentary procedures and is thus the subject of a legal challenge questioning the procedural and substantive aspects of withdrawal. The applicants in .. » Read More

Nigeria: Mandatory HIV testing and dismissal of an employee on the basis of HIV-status

SALC is working with Lawyers Alert, Nigeria to challenge the mandatory HIV testing of an employee of a security company and his subsequent dismissal on the basis of his HIV-status, in X v Brink and Others. The applicant, Mr X, was an employee of a private security company. Upon commencing his employment, Mr X was ordered by his employer to undergo a .. » Read More

Malawi: Discriminatory sentencing against persons with albinism

SALC is working with the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and a private lawyer, Mr Daniel Kalaya, to review a discriminatory sentence against a man with albinism convicted of a criminal offence in the case of S v Precious Michael. The appellant is a man with albinism who was charged with and pleaded guilty to being found drunk .. » Read More

Malawi: Challenging the criminalisation of breastfeeding by women living with HIV

SALC worked with the International Coalition of Women (ICW), Malawi and a private lawyer, Mr Wesley Mwafulirwa, to support the appeal of a woman living with HIV against her conviction of a crime for breastfeeding a child in EL v the Republic. Facts The appellant, EL, is a woman living with HIV who was convicted of negligently and recklessly doing an act which is .. » Read More

MALAWI: DETENTION OF LEARNERS FOR PREGNANCY

SALC is working with Youth Watch Society (YOWSO) in Malawi on a case seeking the review of a Magistrates Court decision to fine parents of students who were pregnant and those responsible for the pregnancies at a school in Malawi. The case also challenges the unlawful detention of the students in police cells until such fines were paid. The case .. » Read More

Zambia: Challenging the Mental Disorders Act of 1949

SALC is supporting a petition by two persons with mental disabilities and the Mental Health Users Network of Zambia (MHUNZA) to repeal the Mental Disorders Act of 1949. The Petitioners argue that the Act unconstitutionally infringes on the rights to dignity, liberty and to freedom from discrimination of persons with mental disabilities and denies persons with mental disabilities the protection .. » Read More

South Africa/Rwanda: Challenging the grant of asylum to alleged perpetrators of war crimes

This case concerns the judicial review of the decision of the South African authorities to grant refugee status to a former Rwandan general and suspected war criminal,Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, in June 2010. This case is being brought by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) and is supported by SALC. According to international and domestic refugee law, suspected perpetrators of .. » Read More

MALAWI: ADVANCING THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD IN DECISIONS RELATING TO INCARCERATION OF CAREGIVERS

SALC is working with the Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) to advance best interests of children in decisions to incarcerate caregivers.  International guidelines recommend taking into account the best interests of the child in decisions relating to incarceration of caregivers and generally encourage non-custodial arrangements for women with young children where possible and appropriate.   In one case, the .. » Read More

Zambia: Health Rights of HIV-positive prisoners

SALC is working with the Legal Resources Foundation in Zambia to secure the rights of HIV-positive prisoners to treatment, adequate food and improvements to prison conditions. The applicant inmates alleged that they only get two meals a day which makes it impossible for them to take their HIV treatment, in violation of their right to life under the Zambian Constitution. They further allege that .. » Read More

Lesotho: Women’s right to chieftainship

On 9 September 2014, Senate Masupha, the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Lesotho) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) submitted a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights challenging Lesotho's law that provides for male-only succession to chieftainship. Ms Masupha, the first born child of a chief, is challenging section 10 of the Chieftainship Act, which denies daughters the .. » Read More

Zimbabwe: Assisting sex workers to hold police accountable for abuse

SALC is working with the Sexual Rights Centre in Bulawayo to act on and litigate in cases of police abuse of sex workers. The intention is to hold the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the responsible Minister and individual police officers accountable for abuse perpetrated against sex workers. In August 2013, a civil case was filed in the Bulawayo .. » Read More

Malawi: Strengthening the Writ of Habeas Corpus

SALC is using the writ of habeas corpus to challenge Malawi’s authority to detain. The applicant, Mavuto Anthony, has been detained for 5 years without a trial. He has been denied bail on a number of occasions. The writ of habeas corpus is rarely used in Malawi and in cases where it has courts have tended not to view illegal .. » Read More

Zimbabwe: Protecting HIV-Positive Employees from Unlawful Dismissal

SALC is working with the Women and Law in Southern Africa's Zimbabwe chapter to challenge the dismissal of a nurse from her employment due to her HIV status. The applicant argues that her dismissal violates her rights to privacy, dignity, and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment. Preliminary issues were argued before the Constitutional Court on 11 February 2015. The Court reserved judgment on .. » Read More