Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day Quick Facts

AKA NameSharpeville Day
Hashtags#HumanRightsDay
Related Hashtags#Sharpevillemassacre, #IndigenousLanguages, #IAmTheFlag
2020 Date21 March 2020
2021 Date21 March 2021
Human Rights Day

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.

Top Tweets for Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day Facts & Quotes

  • In 1948, the Nationalist Party came to power in South Africa and formalised segregation by passing multiple laws that controlled the movements of Black in the country.
  • South African pass laws required Blacks to carry a document on them to prove that they had received permission to enter a white area.
  • The South African constitution is one of the most progressive in the world and gives South Africans rights such as equality, human dignity, freedom, language and culture and life.
  • When the police in Sharpeville saw the masses marching towards them, they panicked and opened fire, killing the 69 and injuring hundreds, - Joe Tlholoe, Prolific South African Journalist
  • To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. - Nelson Mandela

Human Rights Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Head to the parliament in Pretoria to participate in a debate on Human Rights. The debate has a changing theme from year to year.
  • Take part in the Human Rights Day Swim in Cape Town. The swim takes place in the Atlantic Ocean and offers varying distances for all participants.
  • Spread awareness for the day by using social media hashtags such as #humanrightsforall #SouthAfricaHumanRights, #EndingApartheid and #NelsonMandela.
  • Watch a movie that touches on apartheid in South Africa. Some of our favourites include Invictus (2009), Cry Freedom (1987), Goodbye Bafana (2007) and Skin (2009).
  • Watch a documentary about human rights issues and violations. Some recommendations: Invisible Children (2006), Girl Rising(2013) and Nefarious (2011).

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