SAHRC launches investigation into allegations of racism at University of the Free State
24 February 2016
Attention: Editors and Reporters
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The South African Human Rights Commission expresses concern over reports of violent act of racism between students and workers of the University of the Free State, and the University of Pretoria.
Whilst the Commission applauds efforts and initiatives that both these Universities are taking to address racism in their campuses, and other issues, including language policies and transformation, these incidents highlight a broader need for the systemic challenges of racial divisions that exist in some of the country’s institutions of higher learning, and in society in general.
We urge the institutions to work together with student bodies to expedite resolutions on transformation, language policies and race relations, among others. The Commission has already launched an own initiative investigation into the chaos at the University of Free State, and is planning to visit University of Pretoria to see how we can intervene.
Last year, recognizing the magnitude of the challenge of racism on university campuses, the Commission initiated a National Hearing into Transformation in Institutions of Higher Learning. This hearing focused on identifying the factors that sustain racism in our universities and measures that can be undertaken to create better levels of racial cohesion and tolerance. A broad range of stakeholders from academic staff, student representative councils, vice chancellors, university administration, networks of concerned civil society bodies, and government made submissions to the Commission.
The Commission intends to issue it’s findings and recommendations to stakeholders before the end of June, 2016.
On the 14th and 15th of March 2016, the Commission will be convening a multi-sectoral dialogue on racism as part of its 20 year anniversary conference. This dialogue aims to emerge with a Declaration to eradicate racism in all its forms. This declaration will be signed by all stakeholders as a commitment to collaborate to fight racism in all its modern permutations.
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SA Human Rights Commission