Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with 21 March 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights. It became an iconic date in our country’s history that today we commemorate as Human Rights Day as a reminder of our rights and the cost paid for our treasured human rights.
The history of Human Rights Day is grounded in the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on 21 March 1960, where the apartheid police shot and killed 69 people in a peaceful protest march.
South Africa will this year commemorate Human Rights Month under the theme: “The year of Charlotte Maxeke: promoting human rights in the Age of COVID-19”. Human Rights Day will be celebrated on 21 March 2021 in the Eastern Cape in the form of a virtual event.
The history of Human Rights Day is grounded in the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on 21 March 1960, where the apartheid police shot and killed 69 people during a peaceful protest.
This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Month coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution. The Constitution enshrines the rights of all people in South Africa and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.