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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

THE United Nations designated October 31 as the World Cities Day. This day was adopted by the General Assembly on 27 December 2013.

10 November 2017

The World Cities Day is meant to galvanise efforts among different role players to address the challenges posed by urbanisation and contribute towards sustainable development. The general theme of World Cities Day is Bet- ter City, Better Life, while each year a differ- ent sub-theme is selected, to either promote successes of urbanisation, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanisation. The 2017 theme for World Cities Day was Innova- tive Governance, Open Cities.
27 August 2017

By Commissioner Mohamed Ameermia

The Constitutional Court in the matter of Occupiers of Erven 87 & 88 Berea v De Wet NO and Another, reaffirmed on June 8, 2017 its previous judgments and held that judicial officers have to play an active role in adjudicating eviction matters.

23 August 2017

South Africa still defines gender by binary socialisation which does nothing to protect individuals who identify outside of the duality.

The education system has faced many obstacles over the past few years. From challenges regarding language as a medium of instruction and admission procedures that perpetuate discrimination and inequality, to codes of conduct that violate the fundamental principles of our Constitution.

11 - 17 August 2017

The Constitution rules against discrimination and for the protection of children at all schools

Over the past two weeks, one of the most prominent private schools in the country, Saint John’s College, has been criticised for merely disciplining and demoting a teacher found guilty of sustained discrimination against black pupils is his classes.

21 July 2017

The South African Human Rights Commission launched its first Civil and Political Rights Report, on 28 June 2017, which provides a snapshot of key developments around civil and political rights in South Africa during 2016/2017. The launch of the report coincided with the intimidation of journalists by the Black First Land First (BFL) group and threats by BFL to protest at the homes and places of worship of members of the media. These actions which were widely denounced brings focus to bear on important civil and political rights. By KATE TISSINGTON and FOLA ADELEKE.
28 June 2017

By Commissioner Andre Gaum

The process of the admission of pupils to schools for the 2018 academic year is well under way.
This is an opportune time to speak about the impact of admission policies on social transformation.
The management of the admissions raises a number of important issues around co-operative governance and separation of powers, as well as the reasonable exercise of public power or functions. Read more
By Sinethemba Memela, Tatenda Muranda and Querida Saal, SAHRC researchers

Which department should take the lead in the provision of special-needs  housing?

Two years after the finalisation of a special-needs housing policy, it is yet to be tabled for approval.

The housing sector is beset with challenges, most notably a severe housing shortage, a sizeable backlog in housing provision and severe overcrowding. Despite these challenges, government’s efforts in addressing the housing problem must be acknowledged. Between 1994 and 2014, about 2.8 million state-subsidised houses and in excess of 875 000 serviced sites were delivered, benefiting around 12.5 million people. Read more
20 June 2017
 
By Bongani Majola, SAHRC Chairperson

The health department recognises this but not everyone, including asylum seekers, knows this

June 20 is World Refugee Day. There are about 65.6-million forcibly displaced people, and 22.5-million international refugees, the recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees states.
South Africa is host to a refugee population from many parts of the African continent and beyond. They
are fleeing persecution, civil conflict and wars that threaten life and limb. Refugees and asylum seekers
here face a number of problems and access to healthcare is arguably one of the most pressing. Read more
23 March 2017

The Constitution is clear. All people have the right to dignity, equality and freedom. As the Supreme Court of Appeal once noted, “human dignity has no nationality. It is inherent in all people – citizens and non-citizens alike – simply because they are human”. This inherent right arising out of our humanity extends not only to everyone’s right to life, freedom and security of the person, religion, language and culture, belief and opinion. It also extends in the Constitution to socio-economic rights such as housing; healthcare, food, water and social security; education; amongst a range of other. Read more
21 March 2017

By: Prof. Bongani Majola (Chairperson: South African Human Rights Commission)

Racism on the increase in South Africa?"is the question asked the most asked of the South African Human Rights Commission. The question arises due to the impact of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which have given voice to millions, but have, as a side effect, also complicated both the country's attempts to address the racial discrimination of our past and our efforts at social cohesion. Read more
20 March 2017

Human Rights Day reminds us of sacrifices

RACISM has the ability to undermine the democratic progress of the country and can single-handedly cause deeper divides between race groups. World leaders have often preached about the dangers of racism, including former President Nelson Mandela, who said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has urged people from all walks of life to take an Anti-Racism pledge this Human Rights Day. This involves making a personal promise to refrain from hate speech and to embrace diversity. Read more
10 March 2017

As the nation reels from more xeno-phobic violence, another equally egregious form of institutionalised xenophobia played out far from the glare of public attention. It was directed at schoolchildren, com-pounding the violation and infring-ing on the basic right to education.
13 February 2017

Thandiwe Matthews

DESPITE the significant achievements over the past 22 years of democracy, deep inequalities and unfair discrimination remain commonplace. The majority of complaints received by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) relate to discrimination based on race.
By Commissioner Mohamed Ameermia, SAHRC Commissioner responsible for right to housing and access to justice

SYNERGY between Statistics South Africa (Stats-SA) and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is crucial for the achievement of the goals of Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. Disaggregated data is essential in measuring whether governments globally are reaching their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set out by the UN for Agenda 2030.

06 October 2016

By Advocate Mohamed Shafie Ameermia, SAHRC Commissioner responsible for Access to Justice and Housing

In a landmark judgment on September 13 this year, the Constitutional Court engaged in some nimble judicial crafting to cure impugned parts of section 65J (2) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944.

The case stemmed from an application brought by Stellenbosch University’s Legal Aid Clinic in 2015 to the Western Cape high court on behalf of 15 low-income consumers, who were struggling under the burden of garnishee orders that had been issued against them.

21 September 2016

Their objective, apart from making profits, must be to alleviate the inequality in the communities that provide their labour

FOR more than a century, mining has been an extremely lucrative sector in South Africa, contributing significantly to economic growth and development of the country and indeed, the continent. Read more
18 September 2016

By Commissioner Lindiwe Mokate, SAHRC Commissioner responsible for Children’s Rights and Basic Education

Protests that target schools have taught us that we all have a role to play in safeguarding children’s rights, writes Lindiwe Mokate.

South Africa is among the countries that have the highest number of protests in the world - an estimated 13 500 a year, according to the police.

10 May 2016

By Dr Martin Nsibirwa

South Africa in line with accepted international human rights standards recognises the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and petition. Section 17 of the South African Constitution recognises the right in the following terms “[e]veryone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”. Often we refer to this right as the right to protest.

19 May 2016

ADV Mohamed Ameermia

ON MAY 8 the whole country remembered with fond memories the day when the Consti­tutional Assembly, 20 years ago, adopted the Constitution, which would be the blueprint of our country.
However, as was noted by Cyril Ramaphosa who at the time was the chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, "The real legacy of the Constitutional Assembly is not merely in the books that will be distributed, it lies in the growing awareness of what a Constitution means. I appeal to you all to nurture this, to claim the Constitution as your own. We have a Constitution we can be proud of, now let's make it work."
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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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