A - STATUS BESTOWED TO THE SAHRC BY THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODY
5 December 2012
ATTTENTION: Editors and Reporters
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has welcomed the decision by the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) to re-accredit it with an A status.
The recommendation to grant the SAHRC the A-Status, which is the highest status achievable, was made at the SCA’s session in Geneva last week.
The SAHRC has accepted the decision which will now be forwarded to the ICC Bureau for final approval.
Factors taken into consideration for this recommendation includes, among others, the transparent and consultative way in which members of the SAHRC are appointed, and the role played by the SAHRC to encourage the South African government to ratify and accede to the international human rights instruments, including the ICESCR.
The SCA has also recommended that the SAHRC continues to advocate for changes in some national laws to enable it to effectively fulfill its mandate.
This includes the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Act which does not make provisions for the avoidance of conflict of interest; and the lack of inclusion of provisions in the New Constitution or the HRC Act requiring individuals, government or public bodies to formally respond to the SAHRC’s recommendations and reports.
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The SCA, however, noted with appreciation that the SAHRC has already raised these issues with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the SAHRC’s submissions on legislative amendments to Parliament. The SAHRC will continue to advocate and fight for a legislative requirement that government bodies and others respond and act to its recommendations.
We believe the A status is a reflection of the appreciation of the work that the SAHRC does to promote and protect human rights of many, and the influence that this has both regionally and internationally.
This is one of several recognitions bestowed upon the SAHRC in recent days. The Commission’s Chairperson Adv. Lawrence Mushwana was recently elected to Chair the ICC, the first time since its inception, that Africa will head this international human rights body. In this regard, the SAHRC will lead the ICC in supporting its work to advocate for the participation of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the international arena particularly within the United Nations system and in strengthening the cooperation and collaboration between the four regional groups of NHRIs in the Asia- Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The SAHRC was also recently recognized by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACPHR) during its 25th anniversary as an exemplary champion for human rights in Africa.
South African Human Rights Commission