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Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng appointed as UN Special Rapporteur

- Lee-Anne Bruce

CALS welcomes the appointment of Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) would like to extend our warmest congratulations on the appointment of South Africa's Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This is an incredible achievement and one that is absolutely merited: we can think of no-one better suited to this position.

Over the years, we have watched Dr Mofokeng work tirelessly not only to provide quality health care to the people of our country, but to inform and advocate for them. Her concerns lie not only with the need for everyone to have access to proper care, but to basic services like water and sanitation which have a direct impact on health, and to quality education so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health. We believe her focus on women’s health and wellbeing and the rights of the LGBTIAQ+ community, including sexual and reproductive health, are particularly significant in a country like ours and many others in the Global South where resources are limited and inequality based on sexual and gender identity is widespread. 

The current pandemic has, for many, thrown into relief the existing crisis in our health care system, lack of access to basic sanitation for people living in poverty, and what is sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence. Yet, we have known Dr Mofokeng to use her influence to campaign for more clinics in her work on the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, to advocate for the people of QwaQwa who remain without adequate access to water, and to conduct hearings into the state of gender-based violence shelters as a commissioner for the Commission for Gender Equality. 

It is gratifying for us to know that the new Special Rapporteur not only has extensive expertise in health care, but understands our underlying context and knows that the right to health is inextricably linked to socioeconomic rights as well as the rights to equality, dignity and education. Once again, we send our hearty congratulations and wish her all the best in this new position.