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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: Human Rights Day, a Day of Immense Significance to the SAHRC

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Tuesday, 20 March 2019

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or Commission), is established in terms of Chapter Nine of the Constitution, and is mandated to monitor, promote and protect the human rights as set out in the Bill of Rights, Chapter Two of the Constitution.
As the leading National Human Rights Institute in South Africa, Human Rights Day, which is commemorated on 21st March of every year, is a day of immense significance. Human Rights Day is an opportunity for all within South Africa to reflect on the human rights we enjoy in a Constitutional Democracy based on freedom, equality and dignity.

However, the day marks one of the darkest days in pre-democratic South Africa. The day marks and commemorates the sacrifice of the 69 people who lost their lives, whilst protesting repressive, Apartheid Pass Laws on the day in 1960. It serves as a historic memorial and reminder for the sacrifices made to unburden us of the shackles of Colonialism and Apartheid, enabling us to enjoy the human rights we have today.

South Africa commemorates this day as a national public holiday, however, the Commission has planned a range of activities throughout the country during human rights month and will be commemorating the day with various activities across South Africa, to emphasise the value of respect for human rights.

The SAHRC has the broadest Constitutional mandate of all Chapter 9 Institutions, therefore the events the Commission will be participating in on Human Rights Day, focus on all the rights, both civil and political as well as Socio-economic rights. A complete schedule of the Commission’s activities on the day and throughout Human Rights Month can be viewed by clicking on the link here.

Members of the media and the public are invited to participate in all the various activities the Commission will be participating in.   

The Commission’s most recently released Trends Analysis Report for the 2016/2017 financial year, indicates that equality is and has been consistently the most reported human rights’ violation with significant increases year on year in equality related complaints. The right to equality is thus the most violated right in South Africa.

For more information please refer to the following:

State of Human Rights 2019 Trends Analysis Report 2016-2017 Human Rights Day 2019
Trends Analysis Report State of Human Rights 2016-17 Complaints

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gail Smith – Spokesperson Tel: 060 988 3792 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

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.

Braampark Forum 3, 33 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)

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