South Africa’s constitution is recognised as amongst the most progressive constitutions in the world. The bedrock of the South African constitution is the Bill of Rights. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. In view of this, South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day on 21 March. This day holds great significance on our calendar, as the day in 1960, when 69 ordinary South Africans were gunned down by police, for peacefully protesting against apartheid pass laws.
In recognition of Human Rights Day, for this episode of the Thabo Mogaswa Report, we are talking human rights with Ms Lola Shyllon, Project Manager of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria.
In our discussion with Ms Shyllon, we bring into focus what it means to have human rights and the responsible exercise thereof. In particular, we explore the right of access to information and the improvements that African governments are making to facilitate the meaningful realisation of this right.
The conversation also touches on the thorny subject of xenophobia, and the need for caution by public figures with regard to the utterances they make in the public space concerning foreigners in South Africa.