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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: Women’s Day Highlights the need for Human Rights to Be Upheld for All

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Tomorrow, the 9th August 2019, is National Women’s Day in South Africa. The day holds great historical significance in the establishment of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. The day commemorates the famous 1956 Women’s March against repressive pass laws, and generaly against the oppression and subjugation of women.

In the establishment of South Africa’s constitutional democracy based on freedom, equality and dignity of all within South Africa; section 9 of the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) provides for the right to equality and specifically prohibits both the state and any other person from unfairly discriminating against any person on the basis of gender or sex amongst numerous other prohibited grounds.

The South Arican Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or Commission) therefore notes that much has been done to advance the equality of all within South Africa, particularly on the basis of sex and gender. However, the Commission is deeply concerned by reports such as that by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), titled, Crime Against Women in South Africa 2018, which found that 3,3% of men and 2,3% of women in South Africa think it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman. According to the 2016-17 Victims of Crime Report by Stats SA, a total of 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of a sexual offence in South Africa. These statistics are amongst the highest in the world.

The Commission recognises that for South Africa to be an equal society for women, we, as a nation need to urgently address the disproportional amount of gender-based violence and all other forms of intorelance and discrimination against women and girls. 

This Women’s Day, the SAHRC wishes to reaffirm its solidarity with women and girls and its commitment to the struggle for substantive gender equality and the attainment of human rights for women and girls. Furthermore, the Commission pays tribute to women, both nationally and internationally, who have devoted and sacrificed their lives to the struggle for substantive equality for all women and girls.

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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

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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