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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Advisory: SAHRC celebrates International Human Rights Day 2022

Attention: Editors and Reporters

10 December 2022

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC/ Commission) joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day 2022. This year’s Human Rights Day theme is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” and the call to action is #StandUp4HumanRights.

International Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on 10 December in recognition of the very day when, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR consists of a preamble and 30 articles that set out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all of us, everywhere around the world, are entitled. It guarantees our rights without distinction of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status.

The UDHR is a significant document in the history of human rights. South Africa is a state party to various international human rights treaties emanating from the UDHR. Chapter 2 of the Constitution, the bill of rights, enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

This year’s International Human Rights Day comes at a time when the country battles several human rights challenges, which include amongst others: climate change and disasters; gender-based violence; high levels of unemployment which exacerbates poverty; rampant corruption; lack of service delivery, racial tensions; violence and crime, especially against women and children; discrimination against persons with disabilities and sporadic attacks on non-nationals

Throughout the year, the Commission has embarked on several interventions at both national and provincial offices to address the challenges listed above. Some of the activities undertaken in the current financial year include provincial visits by Commissioners; the final sitting of the July Unrest Hearing; engagement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote children’s rights; a local governance conference; monitoring of places affected by the April 2022 flood disaster; convening of the water inquiry in the KwaZulu Natal Province; the launch of the Social Harmony National Effort (SHiNE); hearings to address challenges with policing; and monitoring of detention facilities under the auspices of the South African National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

The Commission calls on the country to use this year’s International Human Rights Day to revisit the values of Ubuntu and address the prevailing human rights challenges. Let us embrace dignity, freedom and justice for all; and stand up for human rights.

Finally, the Commission would like to remind people of the Social Harmony National Effort (SHiNE) which will be rolled out throughout the country in 2023 with the aim of addressing the high levels of disharmony which continue to the reverse the gains of our democracy.



Wisani Baloyi – Acting Communications Coordinator Tel: 081 016 8308 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Alucia Sekgathume – External Communications Tel: 082 689 2364 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Summary: The levels of disharmony, poverty and polarization in the country is a growing and deeply concerning phenomenon. Read more


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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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