Cape Town – A rights rights group Amnesty International has called on the South African government to "take a strong lead against human rights violation" across the southern African region, as it prepares to take over the 1-year rotating Southern African Development Communitys chairmanship this weekend. Amnesty said this ahead of SADC's 37th Heads of State Summit scheduled for August 19-20 in Pretoria.In a statement, AI regional director for southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, urged South African authorities to focus more on curbing human rights abuses in the region."Under the leadership of Nelson Mandela the 'new' South Africa brought hope to the region - and to the world - that human rights violations of the past would be redressed and there would be justice and equality and respect for the human rights of all. As the country prepares to lead the region for the year ahead, this is the time to recapture that hope and give reality to the values that inspired it," said Muchena."This will also require the co-operation of other heads of state, who must do more to protect basic human rights and freedoms in their countries amid volatile political circumstances."Muchena said that South Africa was taking over the regional leadership role during a time when several countries were faced with major political instability.According to the rights watchdog, several regional countries including Angola, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and South Africa, human rights were under threat.