By Neelam Rahim
The Human Rights Commission wants to introduce compulsory diversity education in schools. The Commission released its annual Trends Analysis Report, which raised concerns about the increase in complaints of racism. In the 2020/2021 period, the SAHRC received five-thousand-464 complaints, with 221 related to Covid-19. Fourteen per cent of the complaints related to equality issues.
Radio Islam discusses with Fatima Chohan, The Deputy Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission [SAHRC].
According to Fatima, equality and complaints around the right to equality have consistently been the largest category of violation complaints received across the country. This has been the case for the last nine years, a concerning feature.
The violence in Phoenix during last year’s July riots was a stark reminder of the reality of the racial divides within our country.
“It’s also a situation where there is structural inequality, having visited the area myself shortly after the July unrest. I think there’s endemic structural inequality, poverty, and disaffection. What is also palpably lacking in many of those communities, we found was human solidarity, all of which matters that society as a whole would find replete occurring in various other geographic spaces around the country, and a real cause for concern. Certainly, social cohesion is a big issue related to what happened in July last year,” says Fatima.
Suddenly, social media has become a platform for racism and racial expression.
“This gives us cause for concern. One of the things that we have stated is we are working on a social media Charter, which hopefully will provide a code of conduct and a guide for South Africans. Both in the business arena and terms of schools and families can use this as a guide as to the do’s and don’ts when you can be charged criminally, with saying something,” she added.
Fatima also tells Radio Islam, “It would be wonderful if community organizations were to do more in terms of creating platforms for people with different cultures, different religions to interact. And this is something we hope will be initiated through a national effort we plan to roll out next year.”
Listen to Radio Islam’s podcast below for more on this interview.