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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

MEDIA STATEMENT: SAHRC Encourages All Within South Africa to Reflect on this Human Rights Day

21 March 2020

ATT: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or SAHRC) wishes all the inhabitants of South Africa a happy Human Rights Day. The National Human Rights Day, which is celebrated in South Africa on the 21st day of March of every year, is the most important day not only for the Commission but more importantly for those who call South Africa home. It presents 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 and be happy that the previously oppressed majority of South Africans managed, against all odds, to cast off the shackles of apartheid. It is also a time to reflect on what are our individual responsibilities in upholding not only our own rights but also of all those who are present within our land.

Human Rights Day marks one of the darkest days in pre-democratic South Africa. The day marks and commemorates, among others, the sacrifices of 69 people who lost their lives in the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, whilst protesting repressive apartheid pass laws on this day. 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.

Today, on the Eve of the Commission’s Twenty Fifth Anniversary, the day serves as an important reminder of the very human rights contained in the Bill of Right.  

The day is marked annually with a commemoration attended by the state, members of the civil society, Chapter Nine institutions and faith based communities. However, due to the COVID-19 Virus pandemic posing a legitimate threat to public health, all public gatherings of more than 100 people have been prohibited. In this regard, and while upholding the right to health and in turn the right to life, the Commission supports the State and all other stakeholders in the measures that have been taken in trying to quell the further spread of COVID-19.   

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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