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Friday, 06 January 2012

The SA Human Rights Commission (the Commission) condemns the reported attack on two teenage girls by a group of men at the Noord taxi rank in Johannesburg during December 2011.

The Commission is concerned about the human rights violations of the girls and therefore calls on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly to investigate and prosecute those who were involved in this criminal act. We also call on the South African National Taxi Association and members of the public who may have any information to co-operate fully with law enforcement agencies. Serious questions have been raised relating to the conduct of the police in fulfilling their duty to immediately protect and rescue both girls. The Commission calls on the ICD to investigate this incident. The Minister of Police needs to ensure that any member of the police who does not fulfill their responsibilities will face disciplinary action.

According to the Sowetan newspaper, a 17-minute recording of the incident showed a crowd of men following, harassing, groping and assaulting two teenage girls.

It is the responsibility of Government to ensure the security and safety of everyone, including those dependent on public transport. The police should have intervened immediately, and should have asked for reinforcement in order to arrest the perpetrators who allegedly even tried to interfere with their effort to rescue the girls. Stricter measures are expected from police when protecting the rights of the vulnerable in our society, including women and children.

The CCTV footage should be used to ensure that those who committed these criminal acts face immediate reprisal. Previously, the responsibility for identifying the perpetrators rested on the victims, who had no protection from possible reprisals.

Advances in legislation to protect the rights of women and girls cannot be violated with impunity.  Legislation must be accompanied by practical steps to ensure the realisation of such rights. Seventeen years into democracy South Africa needs to ensure the gender equality enshrined in our Constitution is experienced by all women and girls in our country.

The Commission will engage with other stakeholders to ensure that this matter is dealt with accordingly. The SAHRC is planning a public inquiry into this and similar incidents, involving all relevant stakeholders in the coming weeks.

For further enquiries: Wisani Baloyi on 011 877 3634
For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

- See more at: http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/index.html#sthash.vQme5ODl.dpuf

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