Parliament urges SA to uphold democratic values

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pretoria – On this important commemorative day, Parliament has urged all South Africans to reflect, recommit, advance, protect, defend and uphold democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

Parliament views the Human Rights day, 21 March, as a day of reflections by all people on progress made in entrenching human rights and recommit to doing everything possible to deepen these rights for all.

“As a representative body of the people, Parliament remains unwavering in its Constitutional task of making laws and exercising oversight that ensures practical and concrete realisation of individual and collective humanity rights,” Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday.

Parliament is enjoined by the Constitution to advance and to protect, without fear or favour, people's democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom in the execution of its mandate.

This year's Human Rights Day coincides with the historic year-long commemoration of the 20 years of the Constitution and 20 years of the establishment of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), with a theme “My Constitution My Rights My Responsibilities”.

Parliament thus seeks to build on the progress made and to accelerate the programme towards the realisation of the basic human rights to change the quality of life of all South Africans.

Every person in South Africa is urged to pledge to do everything in his or her power to promote and protect other people’s rights, as a corresponding responsibility to the rights people enjoy.

In commemorating the Human Rights Day 2017, Parliament appreciates the strides made in building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa, but believes more must be done by all South Africans, united in our diversity, within and outside of government, to deepen our constitutionalism and consolidate the country’s democracy.

As the nation commemorates the Human Rights Day, Parliament honours the heroes and heroines who suffered and died for justice and freedom in Sharpeville and Langa in 1960.

“Their selfless and courageous struggle for freedom and an end to pervasive human right abuses of the apartheid government immensely contributed to the attainment of freedom in 1994, the passing of the new constitution in 1996, which came into effect on the 4 February in 1997, followed by the establishment of the NCOP to replace the Senate on the 6 February 1997.” –


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