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South Africa: Less talk, more action on human rights

    April 23, 2019

    South Africa’s post-election government must put human rights at the centre of its policies or risk shackling people to the chains of unemployment, poverty and inequality for decades to come, said Amnesty International South Africa as it published 25 Years On: A Human Rights Manifesto for South Africa today.

    “Although progress has been made since the first free elections 25 years ago, especially in developing a robust Constitution and progressive legislation to promote and protect human rights, compliance and implementation is often lacking. This keeps people bound to the triple burdens of unemployment, poverty and inequality, with escape impossible,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The government-elect as well as all political parties must comply with South Africa’s Constitution as well as domestic and international human rights laws to ensure that the rights of all those in South Africa are upheld.”

    Amnesty International South Africa’s manifesto puts forward eight issues, with recommendations, that it considers important for the government-elect and political parties to commit to in order to build a rights-respecting society.

    These are:

    • Ensure the right to health for all
    • End violence against women and gender non-conforming people
    • Uphold the right to quality education
    • Protect and promote refugee and asylum seeker rights
    • End excessive use of force by the police
    • Hold mining corporations to account
    • Adopt human rights-consistent climate change strategies
    • Champion human rights and international justice in foreign policy and relations

    “It’s crucial that the next government and parliament deliver to improve human rights in South Africa for people to experience true freedom and dignity. Amnesty International South Africa and civil society as a whole will be watching closely,” said Kumi Naidoo.


    South Africa will be holding its sixth democratic election on 8 May 2019, celebrating 25 years since the first free elections in 1994.

    For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey
    Media Relations (Ottawa)
    (613) 744-7667 ext 236