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Amnesty International stresses need to uphold human rights during elections


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Amnesty International stresses need to uphold human rights during elections

3rd April 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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While global movement Amnesty International South Africa (SA) wants political parties to sign its pledge on human rights, it is also calling on voters to hold political parties and candidates accountable ahead of, during and after the elections.

Amnesty International SA has put together its Human Rights Manifesto focusing on 10 issues crucial for political parties and candidates to commit to, to ensure that human rights are upheld.


“It is crucial for political parties and candidates contesting elections to commit to ensure that the human rights of all are upheld ahead of and after this year’s general election, but the electorate must also use its power to ensure this happens. Citizens need to tap into their people-power, exercise their civic responsibility and hold officials accountable in the lead-up to the 2024 general elections. The Bill of Rights guarantees your right to vote in elections for any legislative body established,” said Amnesty International SA executive director Shenilla Mohamed.

She noted that while important progress had been made in the last 30 years, access to human rights for all remained a challenge.


She said in recent times, the quality of service delivery had largely been weakened by corruption, adding that this was at the expense of people living in the country who were constitutionally entitled to have their basic needs met and to live with dignity.

To date, only one political party has signed the pledge to uphold human rights, she revealed.

Amnesty International SA states in its manifesto that high levels of sexual and gender, for instance, must be tackled.

Amnesty International is also of the view that climate change is a threat to a wide range of human rights and will impact on the right to life, health, housing, and water and sanitation.

It says it exacerbates inequalities, and its effects are disproportionately felt by those who are more vulnerable, marginalised and/or subject to discrimination, as seen during the KwaZulu-Natal floods in 2022.

With this, the movement wants to adopt human rights consistent with climate change strategies. It also calls for the protection of the right to life for all, including human rights defenders.

Amnesty International notes that whistleblowers in South Africa are not sufficiently protected, and are either forced into hiding, killed, or find themselves having to leave the country.

It is every person’s right to seek, receive and share factually correct information and ideas, without fear or unlawful interference, it said, calling for the protection of freedom of expression.

Amnesty International in its manifesto advocates for the right to water for all, the right to healthcare for all, including sexual and reproductive healthcare; and the right to quality education for all, while also calling for an end to excessive use of force.

The movement wants mining companies to develop effective Social and Labour Plans (SLP) before the government grants mining rights, saying the SLP must outline measures that will be taken for the benefit of communities and workers, including their housing, and living conditions, and local economic development.

It is also championing human rights and international justice in foreign policy and international relations.


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