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.This national day is both a stark reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s unique Constitution, which gives equal rights to all.
The Sharpeville Massacre
On Monday, 21 March 1960 police opened fire, without order, on a crowd that had gathered at the Sharpeville police station to protest pass laws, stipulations that required Africans to carry “pass” books and produce them for law enforcement officials on request; 69 unarmed people were killed and another 180 were injured.
The celebration provides the country with an opportunity to reflect on progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights. South Africa is regarded as a beacon of hope on the continent, and internationally, in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Human Rights Day is a day for promoting human rights by engaging in activities that promote tolerance, equality and promotion of human rights and social cohesion in our schools and communities.
South Africans are called upon to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
As the South African Embassy in Ankara we call upon all in the world to protect and cherish the rights of every human being and we acknowledge that Human Rights come with responsibilities.
The world should focus more on the importance of "Human Rights" which includes Equality (everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law), Human dignity (everyone has inherent dignity and have their dignity respected and protected), Freedom of movement and residence (everyone has a right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in the country), Language and culture (everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice), and Life (everyone has the right to life).
We believe that human rights should be in all constitutions to protect people as it is the case with the South African Constitution, but is should also not end there but should also be implemented.
We all have a responsibility to ensure that our human rights record and history are preserved and strengthened for future generations. Happy Human Rights Month to all South Africans in particular and to humanity in general!