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MEDIA STATEMENT: SAHRC Calls on the State – Including the SANDF and SAPS – to Uphold and Respect Human Rights during Lockdown

14 April 2020

ATT: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or the Commission) commends the President of the Republic, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government for making the difficult decision to extend South Africa’ lockdown in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Whilst appreciating the State’s effort to protect the right to life and health by taking extraordinary measures to curb the person-to-person spread of this virulent virus, the Commission is fully aware of continued concerns about human rights violations by security services  while enforcing the lockdown regulations published under the Disaster Management Act. The Commission learnt with shock and dismay about the alleged killing of a man in Alexandra, on Friday the 10th April 2020, at the hands of SANDF members.

The Commission welcomes the subsequent warning issued by the SANDF and the military’s willingness to co-operate with the South African Police Service (SAPS), in the subsequent criminal investigations into the death of the deceased. The Commission, however, condemns the use of excessive force and violence which amounts to a violation of the human rights of the people concerned and calls on all senior leadership within the State, particularly the SAPS and  the military itself, to take meaningful steps to stop the excessive use of force by some of their members on civilians. We also call upon civil society, business, faith based communities and all other sectors of society to condemn the brutal use of force by some members of the SAPS and the Military.

The Commission continues to monitor the observance of human rights during the lock down period and urges other constitutionally empowered bodies to ensure that rights are observed and upheld at all times. At the same time, the Commission urges all inhabitants of the country to respect the law and cooperate with law enforcement agencies and avoid creating any reasons for the use of force by them.

Ends

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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