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Human rights in South Africa

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Human rights in South Africa are protected under the constitution. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted that the government generally respected the rights of the citizens; however, there were concerns over the use of force by law enforcement, legal proceedings and discrimination.[1]

Apartheid era

See South Africa under apartheid.

Many of South Africa's laws have been enacted while keeping in mind the social and legal injustices associated with apartheid, and its anti-apartheid message has been hailed as an examplary face of a Subsaharan nation.[2][3]

Political Repression

South Africa has a liberal constitution that protects all basic political freedoms. However, there have been a number of incidents of political repression as well as threats of future repression in violation of this constitution leading some analysts and civil society organisations to conclude that there is or could be a new climate of political repression[4][5] or a decline in political tolerance.[6]

Sexual and LGBT rights

It is estimated that 500,000 women are raped in South Africa every year[7] with the average woman more likely to be raped than complete secondary school.[8] A 2009 survey found one in four South African men admitted to raping someone[9] and another survey found one in three women out of 4000 surveyed women said they had been raped in the past year.[10]

Rapes are also perpetrated by children (some as young as ten).[11] Child and baby rape incidences are some of the highest in the world.[12] A number of high-profile baby rapes that included extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild urinary, genital, abdominal, or tracheal systems have appeared including, in 2001, a 9-month-old was raped and likely lost consciousness as the pain was too much to bear.[13] Another 9-month-old baby was raped by six men, aged between 24 and 66. A 4-year-old girl died after being raped by her father. A 14-month-old girl was raped by her two uncles. In 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gang raped by four men.[11]

South Africa's post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. South Africa was the first country in Africa, and the fifth in the world, to legalise same-sex marriage.[14]

Historical situation

The following chart shows South Africa's ratings since 1972 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".[15]1

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International treaties

South Africa's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:

Treaty Organization Introduced Signed Ratified
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide[16] United Nations 1948 - 1998
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination[17] United Nations 1966 - 1998
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[18] United Nations 1966 1994 -
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[19] United Nations 1966 1994 1998
First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[20] United Nations 1966 - 2002
Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity[21] United Nations 1968 - -
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid[22] United Nations 1973 - -
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women[23] United Nations 1979 1993 1995
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment[24] United Nations 1984 1993 1998
Convention on the Rights of the Child[25] United Nations 1989 1993 1995
Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty[26] United Nations 1989 - 2002
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families[27] United Nations 1990 - -
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women[28] United Nations 1999 - 2005
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict[29] United Nations 2000 2002 2009
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography[30] United Nations 2000 - 2003
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[31] United Nations 2006 2007 2007
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[32] United Nations 2006 2007 2007
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance[33] United Nations 2006 - -
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[34] United Nations 2008 - -
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure[35] United Nations 2011 - -

See also

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Notes

1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the "Year covered". Therefore the information for the year marked 2008 is from the report published in 2009, and so on.
2.^ As of 1 January. Until 1994 the Head of Government was the Prime Minister. From 1984 to 1994 it was the State President, and since then has been the President.
3.^ The 1982 report covers the year 1981 and the first half of 1982, and the following 1984 report covers the second half of 1982 and the whole of 1983. In the interest of simplicity, these two aberrant "year and a half" reports have been split into three year-long reports through extrapolation.

References

  1. ^ , 2009 U.S Dept of State Human Rights Report: South Africa
  2. ^ Dyzenhaus, David (1998). Judging the Judges, Judging Ourselves:. p. 116. 
  3. ^ Lawson, Edward (1996). Encyclopedia of Human Rights. p. 87. 
  4. ^ The Return of State Repression, Professor J. Duncan, South African Civil Society Information Services, 31 May 2010
  5. ^ Increasing police repression highlighted by recent cases, Freedom of Expression Institute, 2006
  6. ^ Political tolerance on the wane in South Africa, Imraan Buccus, SA Reconciliation Barometer, 2011
  7. ^ "SOUTH AFRICA: One in four men rape". Irinnews.org. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "South Africa's corrective rape". Time. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "South African rape survey shock". BBC News. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "South Africa's rape shock". BBC News. 19 January 1999. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Child rape in South Africa". Medscape. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  12. ^ Perry, Alex (5 November 2007). "Oprah scandal rocks South Africa". TIME. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Baby rape sparks outrage". abcnews.com. 30 July. Retrieved 2011-07-12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ "Parliament ordered to allow gay marriage". Mail & Guardian. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Freedom House (2012). "Country ratings and status, FIW 1973-2012" (XLS). Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  16. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 1. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Paris, 9 December 1948". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  17. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 2. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. New York, 7 March 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  18. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  19. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  20. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 5. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  21. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 6. Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity. New York, 26 November 1968". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  22. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 7. International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. New York, 30 November 1973". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  23. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York, 18 December 1979". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  24. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 9. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. New York, 10 December 1984". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  25. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11. Convention on the Rights of the Child. New York, 20 November 1989". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  26. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 12. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. New York, 15 December 1989". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  27. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 13. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. New York, 18 December 1990". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  28. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 8b. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York, 6 October 1999". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  29. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11b. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. New York, 25 May 2000". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  30. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11c. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. New York, 25 May 2000". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  31. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 15. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 13 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  32. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 15a. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 13 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  33. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 16. International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. New York, 20 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  34. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 3a. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. New York, 10 December 2008". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  35. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11d. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure . New York, 19 December 2011. New York, 10 December 2008". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 

External links