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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: SAHRC condemns multiple burglary and vandalism at School for the Hearing Impaired Children in P.E.

08 April 2019

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC or the Commission) is deeply concerned about the reports of several burglaries, and vandalism of school premises over the last week at the Reuben Birin Special School for the Hearing Impaired in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
The vandalism of this school impacts negatively on the realisation of the right to access basic education for 140 children with disabilities. The right to education is a fundamental right protected by section 29 of the South African Constitution. Accordingly, fundamental human rights cannot be denied to anyone, regardless of their disability. Furthermore, as all human rights are indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent; such occurrences are inextricably tied to violations of other basic rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, including the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being.
The Commission welcomes the reports of investigations by the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDE) of the crimes committed at the school that are already underway. However, in the interest of promoting the best interests of the affected children, the Commission urges the department to make adequate arrangements to ensure that the temporary closure of the school does not further derail the learning process and impede the curriculum and educational progression during the year.

The Commission has seen a significant increase in the number of cases involving the safety and security of special schools.  The SAHRC therefore strongly condemns any attacks on schools especially conduct that results in the destruction of school property and threatens the safety, security and right to life of learners at any schools, and particularly special schools.  
The SAHRC calls on all relevant stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring that the rights of this extremely vulnerable sector of our society are protected.  The SAHRC will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure that all affected learners receive the necessary support and assistance.  


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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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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