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n Journal for Juridical Science - Protection of human rights in South Africa : public awareness and perceptions

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Abstract

South Africa is a new democracy with a progressive Constitution and a Bill of Rights that contains all human rights that are universally accepted and recognized. The purpose of this article is to analyse the results of a research study aimed at determining the level of public awareness and the perceptions regarding the protection and enjoyment of such rights. To that end, the survey sought information on public knowledge or awareness of the Bill of Rights, violation or protection of various types of rights, and awareness and perceptions regarding human rights institutions. It was found that many South Africans are unaware of the existence of the Bill of Rights and that the majority of South Africans blame the government for most human rights violations. The results of the survey also show that people are not happy with the level of protection of their rights, particularly socio-economic rights. It is also clear that public knowledge of the existence of human rights institutions and the work they do is severely limited. It is concluded that there is a serious need to educate the public, not only on the Bill of Rights and the processes and the mechanisms of its enforcement, but also on the existence and functions of the various human rights institutions. Only then will the Bill of Rights serve the true purpose for which it was intended.

<b>Beskerming van menseregte in Suid-Afrika : openbare bewustheid en persepsies</b> <br>Suid-Afrika is 'n nuwe demokrasie met 'n progressiewe Grondwet en 'n Handves van Regte wat al die menseregte bevat wat universeel aanvaar en erken word. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die resultate te analiseer van 'n studie wat beoog om die vlak van openbare bewustheid en die persepsies aangaande die beskerming en die benutting van sulke regte vas te stel. Om dit te kan doen, het die opname inligting ingesamel oor die publiek se kennis of bewustheid van die Handves van Regte, oortreding of beskerming van verskillende tipe regte, en bewustheid en persepsies aangaande menseregte-instellings. Daar is bevind dat baie Suid-Afrikaners onbewus is van die bestaan van die Handves van Regte en dat die meerderheid die regering blameer vir skendings daarvan. Die resultate van die opname wys ook dat mense nie gelukkig voel met die vlak van beskerming van hulle regte nie, veral ten opsigte van sosio-ekonomiese regte. Dit is ook duidelik dat openbare kennis aangaande die bestaan van menseregte instellings en die werk wat hulle doen, beperk is. Daar word tot die slotsom gekom dat daar 'n ernstige behoefte is om die publiek op te voed, nie net oor die Handves van Regte en sy bestaan, funksies en meganismes van afdwingbaarheid nie, maar ook op die bestaan en funksies van die verskeie menseregte-instellings. Slegs dan sal die Handves van Regte die ware doel waarvoor dit ontwerp was, dien.

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/content/juridic/29/1/EJC55524
2004-06-01
2016-12-05
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