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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Stop women & children abuse - Get tested for HIV


On Tuesday 25 Novemer the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions will be taking time out of its meeting to focus on two crucially important dates. Tuesday 25 November 2008, marks the beginning of 16 days of activism again st women and child abuse, and Monday 1 December 2008 is World Aids Day.


The CEC delegates resolved that they will demonstrate their commitment to the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of voluntary testing for HIV by submitting themselves for testing on Tuesday 25 November, at COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfont ein. The media are welcome to attend and witness.

COSATU, together with the Treatment Action Campaign, the SA National Aids Council, business and the rest of civil society then be holding a 30-minute national work stoppage at mid-day on Monday 1 December -World Aids Day - to allow the country to have a 30 -minute dialogue to talk about HIV. It will begin with a minute of silence to remember all those we have lost to the Aids pandemic and recommit ourselves to the fight for get the prevention message across and to ensure that ARV treatment is made available for all who need it.

Stop women and children abuse

COSATU fully supports the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence, the international UN-backed campaign against the appalling levels of violence inflicted on the world`s women and children, taking place from 25 November to 10 December.

In South Africa every day, women and children are brutally assaulted, raped and killed. As well as the physical impact this has a massive mental and psychological impact on those affected. As People Opposing Women Abuse said in 2005: "Violence against wome n is traumatic to the body, mind, and spirit and can prevent women from being fully active participants at home and in the world."

The goal is the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children, to be achieved by:

  • Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels
  • Strengthening local work around violence against women
  • Establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • Providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • Demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against violence against women
  • Creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

Laws have been passed to protect women workers, which are supposed to protect women workers facing the worst forms of exploitation. COSATU is doing as much as it can to educate workers and communities about these laws and help to get them enforced. But far too often these laws are mere pieces of paper for both women workers whose employers ignore their provisions, and women at home who are at the mercy of abusive partners.

Violence women and children is always illegal, always wrong and always a violation of the fundamental human right to live in safety and security. We also insist that society must respect of women`s freedom of movement at all times of day, and in all parts of the country and freedom to dress in a manner that they choose.

We will never be able to claim victory in the struggle to transform society so long as women and children are being battered, harassed, intimidated and denied their constitution rights. No society can claim to be civilised while such daily assaults on our most vulnerable fellow human beings continue. All other human rights are insignificant if women and children are denied the most basic right to personal safety.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions