20 March 2014
Government calls on all South Africans to commemorate Human Rights Day on 21 March, and reflect on the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. This year’s theme “Celebrating 20 years of changing lives through human rights”, provides an opportunity for all South Africans to realise that South Africa is a better place to live in, through the gains that have been made in our country’s young democracy.
Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams, said, “As we commemorate and celebrate this 20th year of freedom, we must remember that this is the fruit of great sacrifices and pain. We honour those who fought tirelessly so that we can now enjoy freedom. Government remains committed to ensuring the protection of human rights in our country, and will continue to reinforce its commitment to the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution.”
Government has put in place systems such as the Constitution, supporting legislation, policies and programmes aimed at protecting human rights in the country. Since the advent of democracy government has consistently worked on improving the lives of all.
“Some of the initiatives, amongst others, made by government include the continuous effort to provide universal healthcare, the provision of anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS, the establishment of a national agency on youth development, the promotion of regional human rights programmes and the setting up of the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities. Today more people have access to safe drinking water, and more than 12 million people now have a place to call home as government has invested more than R100 billion in building new homes since 1994.
“Government acknowledges that there are some challenges that we are facing as a country. However, this must not deter citizens as government is working hard at addressing these issues. As a country we have improved significantly, given the ripple effect inherited by centuries of apartheid, said Williams.
South Africans have a responsibility to entrench and inculcate the culture of human rights in all facets of society at the highest standards. Government urges all citizens to play their part by ensuring that our human rights record and history are preserved and strengthened for future generations.
President Jacob Zuma will deliver a keynote address at the commemoration of Human Rights day on Friday, 21 March 2014 at George Thabe Cricket Pitch in Sharpeville, Gauteng Province.
Contact: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communications and Information System (GCIS)