Human rights are the basic rights that you have, simply because you’re human, for example, your right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.
What are human rights violations?
If someone ignores or abuses your rights, it’s called a violation of those rights. For example, if someone treats you differently because of your gender, age or ethnic group, your right to equality is being abused or violated.
If you feel that you’ve been dishonoured or harmed in any way, you can turn to one of the following organisations for help:
- The South African Human Rights Commission. The Commission can help you if you think that any of your rights, as defined in the Bill of Rights, has been violated. The Commission’s website (www.sahrc.org.za) has a facility for filing human rights complaints online (click on “complaints” in the top menu bar). Note that only the following categories will be addressed: human rights, language rights, workplace rights, landlord/tenant rights, the police and your rights, and government and your rights.
- Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is an independent human rights organisation with a 30-year track record of human rights activism and public interest litigation in South Africa. LHR provides free legal services to vulnerable, marginalised and indigent individuals and communities (both non-national and South African) who are victims of unlawful infringements of their constitutional rights. LHR has offices throughout South Africa. Visit http://www.lhr.org.za/contact-lawyers-human-rights for addresses and telephone numbers.
- Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) is a South African organisation that works to end human rights abuses along with its affiliate organisation Amnesty International. Amnesty International South Africa campaigns on multiple fronts including human rights education and women’s rights. Contact AISA at www.amnesty.org.za/index.php/contact-us.
- People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) is a community-based, non-profit organisation devoted to fighting for the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants. PASSOP offers a range of services including anti-xenophobia help desks that offer paralegal advice, integration events and workshops, a Disabled Children Support Project, an African Solidarity Education Project, assistance with documentation issues, Zimbabwean Dispensation Project (ZDP) permits and appeals, monitoring of Internally Displaced Persons camps and other advocacy and education projects. Contact PASSOP at www.passop.co.za/contact-us.
South African Human Rights Commission