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SAHRC calls on Government to act on initiates' death

02 July 2014

ATTENTION: Editors and Reports

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) would like to express its deepest concern at the continued deaths of the initiates at the circumcision schools across the country.
So far seventeen initiates have reportedly died in the Eastern Cape and the number is expected to rise as more schools receive initiates with the inland schools in recess.

We commend the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) who informed the SAHRC that there is an ongoing engagement with the Presidency to bring to end the ever increasing death of the initiates.

According to the CRL Report of June 2014, this cultural practice has so far claimed about 486 lives in the past seven (7) years. While as a human rights institution we respect the observance of all cultures, we cannot accept and tolerate a cultural practice that leads to the death of children and the youths. Of all of the guarantees enshrined within our Constitution, the right to life is the most fundamental.

The SAHRC partnered with the CRL in convening public hearings on initiation schools in 2010. A number of recommendations were made on how these processes, particularly ritual circumcision, could be made safer.
The Commission intends to enquire further into the progress of the uptake of these recommendations and what further guidance is required in order to properly control these traditional and cultural practices.

The SAHRC therefore calls upon the Presidency and the CRL to do everything possible to bring to an end this endemic carnage without delay.

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

For further enquiries, please contacts:
Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

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