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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: Women’s Day Commemoration should be Aimed at Making South Africa Truly Safe for Women

Attention: Editors and Reporters                                                    
9 August 2020

The 9th August 2020, is National Women’s Day in South Africa. The day commemorates the famous 1956 Women’s March against repressive pass laws, and generally against the oppression and subjugation of women and thus holds great historical significance in the establishment of the constitutional democracy we enjoy in South Africa today.
The SAHRC reaffirms 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.
The Commission is saddened by the continuation and escalation of gender-based violence in recent times.  The 2019/2020 South African Crime Statistics were presented by Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, before the commencement of August, which has been designated as Women’s Month. What these statistics show clearly, is that South Africa remains an extremely unsafe place for women. According to analysis by organisations such as the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) and subsequent media reports, crimes – overwhelmingly directed agaist women – such as Domestic Violence, remain a concern, with the ISS pointing out that it accounted for 16% of all murders where a motive had been identified.
Rapes increased by 1.7% to 42 289. That amounts to more than 115 rapes a day! According to the crime statistics, at least 7 351 people were murdered with a firearm in 2019/2020. Two years earlier that figure stood at 6 551. According to GFSA’s, Claire Taylor, “Guns make up 34.5% of all murders in South Africa, and this is related to the fact that guns are much more lethal. For example with domestic violence, if a woman is attacked in a domestic violence situation, where there is a gun present she has a 12 to 18 times greater chance of dying.”
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 Commission recognises that for South Africa to be an equal society for women, we, as a nation need to urgently address and uproot the scourge of gender-based violence and all other forms of intorelance and discrimination against women and girls.  

The Commission once more calls upon independently established institutions in terms of Chapter Nine of the Constitution, such as the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the SAHRC itself, all aspects of the State, civil society, community based organisations, faith based organisations and ordinary people to accept, respect and protect the right of equality, dignity and freedom women and girls are entitled to. This is the only manner in which we as antion will be able make South Africa truly safe for all who live in it.
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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.

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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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