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Amnesty International urged Ramaphosa to prioritise human rights on a local level

Azra Hoosen |
8 February 2024 | 22:00 CAT
2 min read

Amnesty South Africa urges President Ramaphosa to prioritize human rights domestically, matching his advocacy for the Palestinian people. As Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation address, Amnesty emphasised the need for consistent commitment to uphold human rights principles at home.

Amnesty South Africa applauds the country’s actions at the International Criminal Court and commends their courage.

“However, after 30 years of independence, access to basic human rights is not a reality for many South Africans. High crime rates, inadequate healthcare, and water scarcity persist. But in the same way that you went out there to fight for the rights of the Palestinian people, which we support wholeheartedly, do the same for your own people in SA as well. This includes holding accountable those within his cabinet responsible for delivering essential services,” said Amnesty International’s South Africa Executive Director, Shenilla Mohamed.

Mohamed highlighted, one of South Africa’s strengths lies in the effective performance of the Department of International Relations (DIRCO). However, on the flip side, a notable weakness is the underperformance of ministries responsible for delivering basic human rights domestically, such as water, housing, sanitation, and education. “It’s not an either/or scenario. Just as DIRCO excels globally, the President must ensure ministers devote equal energy to their domestic duties. The same level of accountability and diligence should apply at the local level, which is currently lacking,” she said.

Mohamed stated that promises at election time are no longer sufficient; South Africans demand tangible results. “It’s time for less rhetoric and more action. We need service delivery, not just empty promises. They must address corruption and tackle all obstacles hindering access to basic human rights. What we observe is a failure to fulfil responsibilities without being held accountable. It’s imperative that individuals are held responsible for their actions,” she added.

Mohamed said, three decades later, it’s unacceptable that people still use buckets for basic sanitation and women don’t feel safe in their own country. Yet, here we are at SONA, discussing the same issues again.

She urged South Africans to vote for human rights, not politics or personalities.

“Pay attention to the SONA, hold the president accountable for his words. Consider the rights you deserve, and when you exercise your right to vote, vote for the human rights of yourself and those around you,” Mohamed said.

LISTEN to the full interview with Mualimah Annisa Essack and Amnesty International’s South Africa Executive Director – Shenilla Mohamed, here.


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