PRETORIA– The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has called for a high-level intervention and initiatives to address gender-based violence (GBV) as it threatens the safety and security of women and girls in South Africa.

As a human rights-based institution, the Commission is aware that there are lots of human rights violations, sexism and income inequalities; however, we have also come to a realisation that women bear the brunt of most of these atrocities regardless of their location, whether rural or urban, the CGE said Wednesday.

The commission condemned the continued treatment of women and girls with impunity and called for decisive action in dealing with GBV issues. We encourage society to take a stand against women rights violations. The CGE is also calling for an end to patriarchal norms and attitudes, including those that excuse or legitimate the use of violence, are driving the high rates of gender-based violence in South Africa, it said.

During the current Human Rights Month, the CGE will embark on various activities to create awareness for women on their rights. We will also be creating platforms for women to ‘speak out’ on the violation of their rights, hence also asking men to play a significant role in ensuring that they work together with women in curbing gender based violence and human rights violation, acting CGE Chairperson Tamara Mathebula said.

South Africa on Wednesday commemorated national Human Rights Day in remembrance of the 69 protesters, who were killed by apartheid security forces during the anti-pass law protest in Sharpeville, Vereeniging.

The incident, famously known as the Sharpeville Massacre, took place on 21 March 1960 after thousands of anti-apartheid activists from Sharpeville and across the country protested against racial pass laws, which violated the basic human rights of black people.

The 21st of March was declared in the new democratic era as Human Rights Day to honour those who fought for liberation and to celebrate the many rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic.

Human Rights Day was celebrated this year under the theme, The year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: promoting and deepening a human rights culture across society, as it coincides with the centenary of former President Nelson Mandela and woman struggle icon NontsikeleloAlbertinaSisulu.

The centenary is an opportune time to honour both former President Mandela and Mama Sisulu’s memories by striving to ensure their vision of gender equality, equity, human rights and dignity for all South Africans is realised and celebrate their selfless role in fighting for equal rights for all South Africans,” the CGE said.

As the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) we believe these are reasons enough for South Africans united in their diversity to speak out or take a stand against human rights violation, gender discrimination and income inequalities based on gender.”