Dear Friends, Colleagues and fellow South African citizens,
Welcome to the South African Embassy website and find below the highlights of the month.
1 December -World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on 1st December and is an opportunity for everyone to unite in the fight against HIV & AIDS, to show support to those infected and affected and to remember those who passed on from diseases associated with HIV.
The theme this year is, “Global solidarity, resilient HIV services”.
2 December- International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, recalls the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of Others (resolution 317 (IV) of 2 December 1949).
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, and the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. Today, 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world.
Latest estimates from the International Labour Organisation - the UN agency for the World of Work - show there are 21 million people in forced labour, generating US$ 150 billion in illegal profits across all continents. The three-year 50 for Freedom campaign launched on 20 October 2015, calls on governments to help end modern slavery.
3 December- International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, aims to promote: an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.
In South Africa, 3 December also marks the beginning of the Disability Awareness Month. The day provides an opportunity to mobilise action to achieve the goal of full and equal enjoyment of human rights and participation in society by persons with disabilities, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.
5 December -Nelson Mandela Commemoration Day
The first democratically elected President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, commonly and affectionately known as “Madiba”, passed away on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.
This December 5th marks the seven year anniversary of President Nelson Mandela’s passing. In what has been a challenging year for the world, we hope that values that defined Nelson Mandela carry the world forward. In that we can keep his memory alive by living his values and continuing with efforts aimed at ensuring that humanity, peace, tolerance, the rule of law, justice and human rights form the cornerstone of our daily lives.
5 December -International Volunteers Day
International Volunteer Day is a chance for individual volunteers, communities and organisations to promote their contributions to development at local, national and international level. It is a unique opportunity for individuals and organisations of volunteers to work with government agencies, non-profit institutions, community groups, academia and the private sector.
The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (IVD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution A/RES/40/212 on 17 December 1985. Since then, governments, the UN system and civil society organisations have successfully joined volunteers around the world to celebrate the Day on 5 December.
7 December -Civil Aviation Day
In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day, and urged governments, as well as national, regional, international and intergovernmental organisations, to observe it (resolution 51/33 of 6 December).
The Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations specialised agency, declared the day in 1992 to highlight and advance the benefits of international civil aviation. Observation of the Day started on 7 December 1994, the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which established the ICAO.
9 December-International Anti-Corruption Day
Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.
Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)(link is external) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)(link is external) are at the forefront of these efforts.
In South Africa the fight against corruption is one of the major priorities of government. Corruption in both the private and public sector has a detrimental effect on government’s effort to deliver effective services to the people.
International Anti-Corruption Day is commemorated annually on 9 December in recognition of the United Nations Convention against Corruption which was signed in Mexico in 2003.
This day provides an opportunity for political leaders, governments, legal bodies and lobby groups to join forces against corruption. On this day anti-corruption advocates will engage the general public to effectively fight against corruption and fraud in communities.
25 November to 10 December -The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
South Africa commemorates #16days2020 under the theme: - “Women’s Economic Justice towards a non-violent and non-sexist South Africa” for the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which is the high-point of the 365 Days against Gender-Based violence and Femicide (GBVF).
The 16 Days Campaign forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
10 December -International Human Rights Day
International Human Rights Day is marked every year on 10 December with activities led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
In South Africa, Human Rights Day is commemorated annually on 21 March to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa. The South African Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.
16 December -Day of Reconciliation
The 16th of December is a day of great significance in South Africa because of two historical events that took place on that date. In apartheid South Africa 16 December was known as Day of the Vow, as the Voortrekkers in preparation for the Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838 against the Zulus took a Vow before God that they would build a church and that they and their descendants would observe the day as a day of thanksgiving should they be granted victory.
The second historical event that took place on 16 December was in 1961, when Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was formed. Prior to its formation, the ANC had largely approached the fight against apartheid through passive resistance, but after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, where peaceful protestors were indiscriminately shot by police, passive resistance was no longer seen as an effective approach in bringing apartheid to an end. MK mostly performed acts of sabotage, but its effectiveness was hampered by organizational problems and the arrest of its leaders in 1963.
Despite this, its formation was commemorated every year since 1961. With the advent of democracy in South Africa 16 December retained its status as a public holiday. South Africa's first non-racial and democratic government was tasked with promoting reconciliation and national unity. One way in which it aimed to do this symbolically was to acknowledge the significance of the 16 December in both the Afrikaner and liberation struggle traditions and to rename this day as the Day of Reconciliation. On 16 December 1995, the Day of Reconciliation was celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa for the first time.
18 December -International Migrants Day
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day on 4 December 2000. The International convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families was adopted on 18 December 1990 (Resolution 45/158).
The Assembly has stressed the need to make further efforts to ensure respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants.
20 December- International Human Solidarity Day
International Human Solidarity Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2005 as an initiative in the fight against poverty.
International Human Solidarity Day is:
• A day to celebrate our unity in diversity
• A day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements
• A day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity
• A day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals including poverty eradication
• A day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.
I wish you all a healthy Festive Season and a Happy New Year.
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey