TO: All Media
ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters
For immediate release
Monday, 21 March 2022
The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) joins the nation and the world in remembrance of the 62nd anniversary of March 21, 1960 Sharpeville Massacre and to highlight a need for urgent implementation of the Government’s National Action Plan (NAP) geared at facilitating a humane and dignified approach to managing migrants and refugees. As we proudly mark 38 years of South Africa being a democracy amongst the free nations of the world, we canning shut the door on the memory of those that paid with their lives in the service to the country freed from the shackles of racism and undemocratic rule.
On that day the apartheid police murdered 69 people, wounding 180 others by firing on a peaceful demonstrator’s hat had gathered in protest against apartheid unjust Pass laws. The cruelty unleashed on defenseless that day shocked the world and highlighted the brutal and oppressive nature of the illegitimate apartheid state. As a fitting tribute to those that paid with their lives on that day, March 21 was declared Human Rights Day to bolster the continued struggle against racism, sexism, empathy for the vulnerable in society, LGBTQI+ community, migrants, asylum seekers, and care, protection and safety of children. The day remains a reminder for the people to rise in unison to proclaim hard-fought rights. To the FHR Human Rights Day ranks as a day to honour and remember the sacrifices of those who fought for our democracy by recognizing and rejecting discrimination and violence. Among the actions the NAP identified to combat xenophobia, is creation of mechanisms for safety social cohesion and legal entry and exit of borders with neighbouring counties and all ports of entry.
However, recent adversarial incidents between foreigners and SA nationals point to urgent need for the implementation of NAP provisions ensure harmony amongst all that have elected South Africa as a place to call home albeit being due to unpleasant circumstances beyond control of some. This is in recognition of the conventions that South Africa has consented to which include equal protection of those exposed to danger including migrants, rapid prosecution of those in conflict with the law and ending discrimination and violence. The FHR holds this position on the understanding that the vast majority of rights (including access to socio-economic rights and service delivery) are equally applicable to everyone in South Africa, regardless of their nation of birth, citizenship or legal status.
Government is therefore obligated to improve service delivery and access to socio-economic rights to all members of the community. The FHR recognizes that COVID-19 has fundamentally affected the lives of many South Africans and highlighted the different realities that people experience thus deepening systemic inequality. COVID-19 also exacerbated the extent of the blatant corruption that continued regardless of the health crisis, loss and death by public representatives as well as private sector players alike. The country has seen a number of reports of alleged corrupt dealings by senior officials, revealing serious malfeasance, fraud and the misappropriation of millions of rands, which has disrupted South Africa’s response to, and recovery from, COVID-19.
The FHR calls upon the government to transparently investigate and publicly prosecute any and all persons (government or private) who have been credibly accused of corruption as a clear and meaningful commitment to value the sacrifices of those who died at Sharpeville.
Lindiwe Sithole – 082 634 7154