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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Pledge to power: Amnesty International SA releases Human Rights Manifesto

Ahead of the 29 May election, Amnesty International SA has called on party candidates to commit to uphold the rights of South Africans.

Amnesty International SA says the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), political parties, candidates and authorities must ensure that all human rights are upheld during and after the elections.

In support of this, the organisation has released its Human Rights Manifesto which highlights 10 crucial issues that political parties and candidates must commit to to uphold the rights of South Africans.

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The manifesto has been sent to political parties and independent candidates, along with a request for them to sign a pledge to uphold these rights if elected.

Amnesty International SA: Critical role of electorate

According to Amnesty International SA executive director Shenilla Mohamed, four political parties and one independent candidate have signed the pledge so far.

To date, nearly 10,000 citizens have taken this pledge, underscoring the critical role of the electorate in ensuring that human rights are prioritised in the upcoming elections.

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Keeping an eye on elections

Mohamed emphasised that the non-governmental organisation will be monitoring the situation on election day, as well as the days after the poll when votes will be counted.

“The IEC officials, political parties, candidates, and authorities must ensure that human rights are upheld. This includes the right to freedom of expression, dignity, and safety.

“There must be no space for fear and intimidation of voters during the election and the safety and security of everyone, no matter who they are, must be respected before, during, and after elections.”

She added that the Bill of Rights in the Constitution grants all citizens, 18 and older the right to vote and this was one of the rights which was fought for during the fight for freedom in South Africa.

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Amnesty International SA’s Human Rights Manifesto

Mohamed explained that the Human Rights Manifesto focuses on 10 issues crucial for political parties and candidates to commit to, to ensure that the rights of all those who live in South Africa are upheld.

Whoever becomes the next governing party must uphold South Africa’s Constitution and international human rights obligations.

“Amnesty International SA has continuously called on the state to effectively address human rights violations and access to basic services for all living in South Africa. No matter who it is, the incoming administration needs to prioritise human rights and address the need for basic services.”

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Pledge to deliver on human rights obligations

The manifesto, as put together by Amnesty International SA, was sent to political parties and independent candidates requesting them to sign a pledge outlining their commitment to upholding human rights if elected.

The Amnesty International SA director expressed her disappointment in the fact that only four political parties and one independent candidate have signed the pledge.

“Those who are voted into power after these elections, must serve the people, stop the politicking, and deliver on human rights obligations,” Mohamed said.

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