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Human rights commission monitors flood-affected areas

27 April 2022

The narrative which emerged is deep human suffering in a context of physical devastation. Homes and belongings are no longer available to many.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has been actively monitoring areas most impacted by the floods, which ravaged KwaZulu-Natal recently.

Commissioners visited families and shelters housing hundreds of displaced children. The narrative which emerged is deep human suffering in a context of physical devastation. Homes and belongings are no longer available to many. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with disabilities are demonstrating tremendous resilience despite their plight.

Many have limited access to basic facilities like toilets and water. Some facilities do not have adequate security. The Commission is encouraged and deeply grateful for civic-minded individuals who have contributed necessities to those people who are in serious want. More especially, human rights defenders have flexed their muscles and are visible in the centres and beyond.

The SAHRC celebrates civil society, faith-based organisations, civic structures, and groupings of people who have come together to respond to this humanitarian crisis. The government has also put in measures to secure a rapid response to the ongoing crisis, which is commendable.

The crisis is, however, far from over and its aftermath has further consequences, which manifest in the coming days and short through to medium terms for the children and large numbers of people in this province and in the country. Commissioners of the Commission have engaged with the office of the Premier to impress the need for a human rights-based approach in the development and implementation of responses by the government.

In addition, the Commission has shared with the Premier matters it will take forward relating to infrastructure, access to water, and climate justice. On Wednesday afternoon, the Commission rallied civil society organisations, networks, and non-governmental organisations to a consultative session.

These human rights defenders are a key partner to constitutional bodies like the South African Human Rights Commission in the work they do to promote and protect human rights on the ground in situations that give rise to human rights crisis in the country. Participants shared their experiences and observations with the Commission, thereafter agreeing on a way forward to advance collective human rights responses on the ground.

The Commission remains active in monitoring and response, focusing largely on complaints, community monitoring, and interventions through the provincial structures for the remaining days. We again express appreciation to businesses, human rights defenders, and the people of the province for their solidarity and commitment to protecting the human rights of the people who live in this beautiful province.

Source: South Coast Herald

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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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