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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Equality

Equality and Racism is one of the eight focus areas identified by the South African Human Rights Commission in order to effectively fulfil its Constitutional mandate of promoting, protecting and monitoring the realisation of human rights in South Africa.

The constitutionally entranced right to equality and the equal protection and benefit of the law must be understood against the country’s history of inequality, racism, homophobia and other related intolerances. It is for this reason therefore that, since its inception, the Commission has been concerned with the eradication of inequality and unfair discrimination, particularly based on race, gender, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. The Commission’s continued strategic focus on the right to equality has been informed by the increase in equality-related complaints lodged with the Commission.

Since 2012, the Commission has seen a steady increase in the numbers of equality related human rights violations.  In the 2012/2013 financial year, equality related complaints accounted for 10% or 511 of all complaints received, in the 2013/2014 financial year the figure increased to 11%, and in the 2015/2016 financial year, equality related complaints constituted the highest number of complaints received by the Commission, totalling 16% or 716 of all complaints received. To date, the highest number of complaints received by the Commission are equality-related human rights complaints.

Of all the equality related complaints received in the last few years, complaints relating to unfair discrimination based on race have consistently been the highest complaints received by the Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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