The Status of Human Rights Defenders in South Africa

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)

This research brief seeks to highlight the current landscape and environment for human rights activism in South Africa, and the importance of ensuring that the work of HRDs receives the necessary promotion and protection from both State and non-State actors in ultimately achieving the goals enshrined in the Constitution. (…) It is therefore clear that there is a need for clear domestic policy and legislation on the protection of HRDs in South Africa. (…) The SAHRC is concerned that despite the recognition and protection of rights afforded in the Constitution, due to the lack of a clear domestic legal definition as to who constitutes an HRD, there is a glaring lack of information on the status of HRDs in South Africa. This gives rise to difficulty in monitoring the State’s obligation to promote and protect the rights of HRDs. Moreover, the SAHRC is concerned about the inconsistent approach adopted by the South African government in its position on issues pertaining to HRDs, particularly because HRDs play a crucial role in the advancement of substantive equality and the promotion of civil, political, and socio-economic rights required for those most vulnerable in our society to live a life with dignity as guaranteed in the Constitution.

From the summary

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