Human Rights Day is a day of tribute mostly to the Sharpville Massacre on 21 April 1960 that followed the peaceful protests against the pass laws while Freedom day is an annual celebration of the first free and fair, democratic elections that were held in South Africa where Nelson Mandela was voted into office. Both these days were to commemorate two of the biggest days during the struggle towards a liberated society in a country that embraces equal rights for all.
A factor that we pay special attention to is that the rights stipulated and protected in the constitution and Bill of Rights come hand in hand with the responsibilities bestowed upon the citizens to ensure the security of peace. This comes as an extension of the affirmation of the democratic values of equality, freedom and human dignity. The state is subject to protect, respect promote and fulfill these rights in The Bill with the consideration of their limitations. These limitations are how the responsibilities that are linked to these rights are manifested in The Bill.
an example of one such provision is found in Section 16 which states the popularly sought after right at each individual covered by the constitution may freely express themselves in almost any way, be it through media, artistic expression, scientific or academic research, amoungst others. This right is free and fair to everybody AS LONG AS said expression does not extend to the incitement of violence, war or discriminatory hate.
It is then the responsibility of each individual to protect the next person’s – as well as their own – right to human dignity, which prohibits subjecting one to hate speech and/or any such discrimination.
When it comes to media, one needs to make the distinction between a private individual and political and public figures. This is so that one can calculate the extent of the compromising effect that comes with the risk of defamation of character.
The media does have a certain amount of leeway where public figures are defamed because of the responsibility of the media to keep the people informed, these people have to accept the risk of criticism; even with the consequence of defaming their good name, this includes organs of state. When it comes to private individuals, the courts will generally afford the victim the advantage.
As a form of social responsibility, environmemtal friendliness is something that each member of a community needs to strive towards to ensure that they acknowledge their responsibility in terms of the right they have to an environment that is not harmful to their health ir well being. This right is stipulated in section 24 of The Constitution.
This is yet another freedom and privilege that we are granted by law, and each citizen has to accept the responsibilities that come along with this such as reusing and recycling to ensure eco-friendly plastic and waste usages.
With very many of the rights we are granted as South Africans, as well as internationally the most sustainable way to make sure we each protect our rights as well others’ is to live selflessly.
“Abide by the golden rule and do unto others as you would like to have done upon you”
Setting this principle in motion is one of the many sure-fire ways to make sure that we encourage others to not only excercise their rights, but acknowledge the responsibilities that come along with them.