As we celebrate Human Rights Month, The South African Human Rights Commission says human rights violations have increased in South Africa.
The commission says one of the contributing factors is the fact that many South Africans have no respect for the rule of law. But nothing prepared South Africa for the violent and brutal murder of Thoriso Themane’s as his death drew widespread outcry and condemnation and an online petition demanding justice. Our programmes mark an interesting shift in our work – away from defining reconciliation merely in terms of peaceful coexistence to stressing the element of development, poverty alleviation, restitution, equality and justice as bases for a sustainable peace. Youth upliftment programmes is critical and ongoing work by Freedom Park in fighting the scourge of drug abuse and building a better future for themselves.
It is also a disconcerting truth that although respect for human rights is upheld in the South African constitution, many continue to violate the rights of others. Although Freedom Park commemorates and honours those who suffered the loss and denial of their human rights, it also stands as a celebration of the triumph over the dehumanisation of millions with the advent of democracy in South Africa.
A visit to Freedom Park to the many who may not have experienced a visit here will understand that this monument is issuing a call to all South Africans to embrace, respect, promote and develop those human rights enshrined in our Constitution to build a true non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
Human Rights Month is a time for us to remember and honour those who suffered for the freedom we enjoy today but also to remember those who were denied their basic human right to live.