Human Rights Day History
Human Rights Day commemorates the South Africans who have fought for right and equality. The day serves as celebration of rights and equality and an opportunity for South Africans to protect their rights and denounce discrimination. The day also marks the anniversary of the 1960 events in Sharpeville, when on 21 March 1976, 60 people were killed and 180 others wounded as police fired on a peaceful protest against Apartheid policies that required Blacks to obtain passes to enter urban areas and leave rural areas.
Human Rights Day became an official holiday when the nation's first black and democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, proclaimed it in 1995. It is celebrated annually on 21 March, a day that coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
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