This year marks 61 years since the Sharpeville massacre; presenting us with an opportunity to acknowledge the immense sacrifices that have been made by countless South Africans in the struggle for human rights.
At Constitution Hill, this year’s Human Rights Festival, a ten day affair, will take place online where all are free to attend at no cost.
Taking place from 21 to 31 March 2021, the Human Rights Festival is an intellectually stimulating series of events bringing together key thinkers, academics and civil society organisations to engage a wide public audience using a variety of formats designed to stimulate thought and debate.
This year the festival will focus on the impact that Covid-19 had on human rights as well as the direction that South Africa, and the world, should be taking following a pandemic.
With few indications of the pandemic fading soon, this crisis ought to be a source of inspiration for all of us to remain with humankind and join in the battle for common freedoms. Speaking on the human rights focus, Constitution Hill’s acting CEO, Reuben Phasha said:
In the ten days the festival will unpack ten themes through live virtual events. The themes are as follows:
Gender Based Violence in South Africa – Where are we going wrong? (21 March): Gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa is a long-standing concern for Amnesty International South Africa. In this talk, the organisation highlights the governments’ failure to effectively implement laws, policies and human rights obligations to prevent GBV and uphold the rights of women and girls.
Youth standing up against racism (22 March): An intergenerational panel discussion on ‘youth taking a stand against racism.’ The panel discussion will draw lessons from the past, address current challenges, and the key role that young people play in addressing racism and discrimination to promote civic engagement and social change.
Rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine (23 March): Discussing how to safeguard the process to ensure distribution is fair and non-discriminatory.
Environmental Rights – Human Rights and Civil Society (24 March): An event unpacking the State’s Abuse of power – activists’ stories of violence and surveillance. Key Partner - Greenpeace South Africa.
The politics of the rule of law (25 March): After 25 years since the signing of our Constitution how have we fared in upholding the rule of law? How have our politics affected the rule of law? And what is the role of commissions and the courts in strengthening the rule of law. As we look to the next 25 years of our Constitution - what can we as the people of South Africa do to ensure that we live up to one of our most foundational principles as a constitutional democracy?
Building Back Better (26 March): How using the African Free Trade Agreement can help youth in business recover from the pandemic –
Children’s Rights (27 March): Children’s Courtroom - a facilitated play-based mock-up court for children – exposing children to the rule of law, justice and role-playing roles in the judicial system while looking at the children’s rights.
African Storytelling (28 March): Oral storytelling can improve children’s language fluency and help them grasp new concepts that underpin literacy and literature. This will include a panel discussion on the need to protect Children's Rights and Human Rights Education for Children.
The plight of refugees and migration in the face of Covid-19 (29 March)
LQBTQIA+ Rights (30 March)
Children and their right to education – A debate by learners (31 March)
For more information or to get a free ticket to join in the festivities visit www.humanrightsfestival.co.za