HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Meet the ordinary people who protect the rights of others

2018-03-21 16:29
Ansela and Noah Sloman who started Cape Town's Teen Pride (Jenni Evans, News24)

Ansela and Noah Sloman who started Cape Town's Teen Pride (Jenni Evans, News24)

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In our Human Rights Day series, we have featured everyday South Africans who defend the basic rights of others. Meet Billy Claasen, who fights for the rights of those society has forgotten; two teenagers who started Teen Pride in Cape Town; Asad Patel, who protects the right to life of vulnerable residents in Westville, and Advocate Luyanda Mbatha, who believes knowing your rights is power.

Teen Pride gets LGBTQI+ teens talking IRL

Two Cape Town teens have created a safe gathering space for teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer or intersex (LGBTQI+), or who are wondering whether they fit somewhere into that acronym.

Sowing seeds of change for farmworkers

He remembers living in a converted pig sty, and seeing people being paid in alcohol or being abused by their employers without repercussion. The son of farmworkers, Billy Claasen, has made it his mission to fight for the rights of those he believes society has forgotten. In the 21 years, he has advocated for the rights of marginalised labourers, Claasen believes he has seen it all.

Billy Claasen with retired farmworker Klaas Fredericks from Redelinghuys. (Supplied)

WATCH: Waiting for dignity | A 360 video story

Residents of Europe informal settlement in Cape Town say they will not be celebrating Human Rights Day due to the lack of dignified sanitation.

'Knowing your rights is power'

"I often drive past an informal settlement on my way home to Ladysmith and the right to shelter is still not ideally met. Economic oppression still exists. Government is trying, but it will take time. There is still a lot more to be done," says 23-year-old KwaZulu-Natal Advocate Luyanda Mbatha.

'Right to life being enjoyed by criminals instead of citizens'

"Criminals who have a weapon and indulge in violence must be dealt with appropriately. Furthermore, government should listen to the citizens who want the death penalty brought back as this was a severe deterrent," says Asad Patel, who holds top positions in various community safety structures in KwaZulu-Natal, particularly in Westville, a suburb west of Durban, where he is from.

Read more on:    human rights

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