SAHRC commemorates nternational Human Rights Day by looking back at its work
The 10th of December 2017 marked the commemoration of International Human Rights Day. The day is globally observed annually in remembrance of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by (the then newly formed) United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. This proclamation was the first global expression of human rights and is globally recognised as one of the first major achievements of the fledgling UN. This year, International Human Rights Day began a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
This year’s theme is Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity.
The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or SAHRC) is a state institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution of South Africa to support constitutional democracy and is mandated in terms of section 184 of the Constitution to promote respect, monitor, and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa. As South Africans reflect on the significance and values of human rights contained in our Constitution, the Commission, established to support constitutional democracy, has been working tirelessly to ensure that the aspirations of the Constitution are realised. Central to these aspirations are the principles of equality, justice and dignity.
The Commission has been engaged in numerous processes throughout 2017, in promoting, protecting and the monitoring of human rights. The Commission during June 2017, Youth Month, launched a Child Friendly Complaints Handling Procedure. This enables children to lodge complaints related to their human rights violations by creating a safe and child-friendly environment for children.
During the same month, the Commission released its findings on the concerning state of the provision of healthcare services to oncology patients in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The SAHRC’s extensive investigation found that the respondents, being Addington Hospital, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALC Hospital), the Department of Health Kwa-Zulu Natal and the MEC of KwaZulu-Natal Health, had violated the rights of oncology patients at the Addington and IALC Hospitals to have access to healthcare services as a result of their failure to comply with applicable norms and standards set out in legislation and policies. The Commission made recommendations to remedy the lack of adequate healthcare and continues to monitor the situation.
Numerous other examples of work done by the Commission, toward the realisation of human rights is showcased in the Commission’s soon to be released Annual Trends’ Analysis Report for the 2015/2016 Financial Year, which provides a comprehensive perspective of the human rights complaints the Commission receives and has dealt with.
Source: Government of South Africa