As South Africa commemorates Human Rights Month, the government has encouraged South Africans to use the occasion to foster greater social cohesion, nation building and a shared national identity.
“It is our duty as a nation to strive for inclusive socio-economic development, while ensuring that we combat racism, racial discrimination and all related intolerances,” the Cabinet said in a recent statement.
Human Rights Month is a time to honor those who have brought the nation to freedom and democracy. Among them were the brave men and women who marched in Sharpeville on March 21, 1960 for the abolition of pass laws.
That day, 69 people died and 180 were injured when police fired into a peaceful crowd that had gathered to protest pass laws.
Launched under the theme “The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving Our Human Rights Gains”, the government this month organized a series of dialogues and events as part of the commemorations.
Although last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Constitution, the government has also extended the commemoration until 2022, with a series of activations planned.
The Constitution enshrines the rights of all the peoples of South Africa and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the opening speech today at the Human Rights Day event, which will be held at the Reagile Sports Ground in Koster in the North West.
Protect women’s rights
Since the advent of democracy, the government has made progress in establishing a culture of human rights in the country. In an effort to address discrimination and abuse against women, the President in 2018 convened the National Summit Against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
There has also been a 365 day commitment to this fight across all government departments and state agencies.
In addition, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has developed a National Strategic Plan (NSP), in which all commitments to practical interventions are codified, tracked and reported periodically to measure progress.
At the legislative level, progress has also been made, given the latest promulgation of the three bills against gender-based violence (GBV).
These legislative reforms will, among other things, allow victims to apply for a protection order online without being present in court. In addition, applications for protection orders will be made 24 hours a day on the online application platform.
As a deterrent to likely perpetrators, one of the bills contains a provision that allows the contact information of those convicted of sexual offenses to be made public.
These Bills include the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses and Related Matters) Amendment Bill and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill .
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is also working hard in consultations with stakeholders that will ensure that in the future, sex work is decriminalised. – SAnews.gov.za
SA commemorates Human Rights Day
SourceSA commemorates Human Rights Day