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Human rights in South Africa

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Title: Human rights in South Africa  
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Subject: Human rights in Africa, Elections in South Africa, Foreign relations of South Africa, Provinces of South Africa, Politics of South Africa
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Human rights in South Africa

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
South Africa
Foreign relations

Human rights in South Africa are protected under the constitution. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted that the government generally respected the rights of the citizens, however there were concerns over the use of force by law enforcement, legal proceedings and discrimination.[1]

Apartheid era

See South Africa under apartheid.

Political Repression

[2][3] or a decline in political tolerance.[4]

Sexual violence

It is estimated that 500,000 women are raped in South Africa every year[5] with the average woman more likely to be raped than complete secondary school.[6] A 2009 survey found one in four South African men admitted to raping someone[7] and another survey found one in three women out of 4000 surveyed women said they had been raped in the past year.[8]

Rapes are also perpetrated by children (some as young as ten).[9] Child and baby rape incidences are some of the highest in the world.[10] A number of high-profile baby rapes that included extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild urinary, genital, abdominal, or tracheal systems have appeared including, in 2001, a 9-month-old was raped and likely lost consciousness as the pain was too much to bear.[11] Another 9-month-old baby was raped by six men, aged between 24 and 66. A 4-year-old girl died after being raped by her father. A 14-month-old girl was raped by her two uncles. In 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gang raped by four men.[9]

Historical situation

The following chart shows South Africa's ratings since 1972 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".[12]

International treaties

South Africa's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:

See also


1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the "Year covered". Therefore the information for the year marked 2008 is from the report published in 2009, and so on.
2.^ As of 1 January. Until 1994 the Head of Government was the Prime Minister. From 1984 to 1994 it was the State President, and since then has been the President.
3.^ The 1982 report covers the year 1981 and the first half of 1982, and the following 1984 report covers the second half of 1982 and the whole of 1983. In the interest of simplicity, these two aberrant "year and a half" reports have been split into three year long reports through extrapolation.


  1. ^ , 2009 U.S Dept of State Human Rights Report: South Africa
  2. ^ The Return of State Repression, Professor J. Duncan, South African Civil Society Information Services, 31 May 2010
  3. ^ Increasing police repression highlighted by recent cases, Freedom of Expression Institute, 2006
  4. ^ Political tolerance on the wane in South Africa, Imraan Buccus, SA Reconciliation Barometer, 2011
  5. ^ "SOUTH AFRICA: One in four men rape". 18 June 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "South Africa's corrective rape". Time. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "South African rape survey shock". BBC News. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "South Africa's rape shock". BBC News. 19 January 1999. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Child rape in South Africa". Medscape. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Perry, Alex (5 November 2007). "Oprah scandal rocks South Africa". TIME. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Baby rape sparks outrage". 30 July. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
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External links

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