Zuma to commemorate Human Rights Day

2012-03-21 06:42

President Jacob Zuma is due to speak at a Human Rights Day commemoration at the Walter Sisulu Hall, Kliptown, Soweto this morning.

Human Rights Day, previously known as Sharpeville Day, is celebrated in remembrance of the March 21, 1960 Sharpeville massacre.

The Pan Africanist Congress had called on black men to leave their pass books at home, go to the nearest police station and demand to be arrested for not carrying the “dompas”.

People gathered at police stations in informal settlements near Johannesburg where they were dispersed by police.

However at the Sharpeville police station police opened fire on the advancing crowd killing 69 people and injuring 180 others who refused to carry the dompas identity document.

This yearly celebration served to remind South Africans about sacrifices made in attaining a democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, the department of justice and constitutional development said.

The theme of Human Rights Day 2012 would be “working together to promote unity in diversity and human dignity for all”.

Fifty-two years after the massacre Zuma would deliver a keynote address to reinforce government’s commitment to protect and promote human rights, the department said.

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