SA marks Human Rights Month

South Africans are urged to use the month of March to reach out to one another as the country continues to build a united and prosperous nation. March marks Human Rights Month, which seeks to honour those who fought for liberation. It is also a platform to celebrate rights and freedom.

This year, the commemorations will be observed under the theme ‘The Year of Indigenous Languages: Promoting and Deepening a Human Rights Culture’.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Tuesday said the theme will draw attention to the critical importance of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalise and promote indigenous languages.

The Constitution mandates change to the language situation throughout the country, giving social and political recognition to disadvantaged language groups on the basis of the expressed needs of communities and interest groups.

“The South African democratic government is seized with promoting a culture of human rights. These efforts are proof that government has made significant progress in addressing the inequalities of the past and the advancement of human rights as enshrined by the Constitution,” Mthethwa said.

Likewise, government sees the month as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, nation-building, national identity, socio-economic development and to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all related intolerances. 

As such – Mthethwa said the month should be used to highlight progress made in advancing human rights and restoring human dignity in line with the Bill of Rights.

The country is set to commemorate Human Rights Day on 21 March at George Thabe Cricket Pitch in Sharpeville, Vereeniging.

As a build-up, Mthethwa will lead the Human Rights Month Dialogue on 19 March at Vaal University of Technology (VUT)

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