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Where do we stand as a country this Human Rights Day?

Annisa Essack |
21:03:2023 | 10:30 CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: IJR

A keynote address was delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a commemoration of Human Rights Day in De Aar, Northern Cape Province, on Tuesday, 21st March 2023. The theme of this first commemorative day on the annual national calendar is “Consolidating and Sustaining Human Rights Culture”.

Felicity Harrison, Head of Sustained Dialogues at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, spoke to Radio Islam International and said that people had forgotten the events that occurred on this day. She added that those who sacrificed their freedoms and lives for South Africa have not seen their dreams achieved, especially regarding socio-economic rights.

For many, Human Rights Day is no longer a celebration as people feel betrayed and hope for better days is lost.

Commenting that the wealth divide in South Africa has created an untenable situation, she believes that government, business, and civil society have not done enough to highlight the dissatisfaction.

“People are turning to other forms of politics. So, for example, in the work that we have done at IJR, one of things that we have discovered is that many people in South Africa would rather have their rights taken away in return for getting better material conditions, which is a very worrying trend and a worrying statistic for us because these rights were so hard fought for and so many people died and sacrificed for this.”

She concluded that there was still hope among the people and many in the government and other spaces working hard for the country. Furthermore, she said that many small things were happening that reflected the people’s resilience.

“We can overcome Apartheid; we can overcome the current challenges.”

Listen to the full interview here.


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