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Heritage site Freedom Park honours, celebrates human rights

The entrance to Freedom Park where various activities will take place to educate the public about human rights. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

The entrance to Freedom Park where various activities will take place to educate the public about human rights. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 7, 2022

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Pretoria - With March being commemorated as Human Rights Month and organisations emphasising the need to turn their focus to this, heritage site Freedom Park in Pretoria said it had lined up various activities to educate the public about human rights in South Africa.

Human Rights Day in South Africa is commemorated on March  21 annually, and is important as it honours those who lost their lives in the Sharpeville Massacre on March  21, 1960.

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On that day 69 people lost their lives, while 180 were wounded when police fired at a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the apartheid pass laws.

Freedom Park said it was important to keep Human Rights Day in the people’s minds, to make it appealing and relevant, so that the next generations knew about its importance.

Chief executive Jane Mufamadi said human rights were embedded in the country’s Constitution, through the Bill of Rights.

“It is symbolised through the Sharpeville Massacre where the rights of citizens by the then apartheid government were trampled on.

“Freedom Park believes human rights are a fiscal aspect, and the park is an icon of humanity and freedom. We encourage all South Africans at all times, at all costs, irrespective of the situation we find ourselves in, to respect the dignity of others and ensure their rights, irrespective of gender, colour or race.”

Mufamadi said that although society had moved from political oppression, the country still faced other social ills.

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“The issues of femicide, gender-based violence, and poverty prevail. We really do not necessarily have sustainable programmes that will improve people’s lives.”

Mufamadi said more had to be done to teach the next generation about the heritage of liberation, and to honour those who made it possible for South Africa to be a democratic country.

“We can honour them better when we change the material conditions in the day-to-day lives of South Africans.“

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Mufamadi highlighted that South Africa belonged to all of those who lived in it, regardless of race or cultural beliefs. Human Rights Day was slowly losing its general appeal, and the lack of participation at government programmes was concerning, she said.

She emphasised that more needed to be done to keep Human Rights Day appealing.

Pretoria News

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