ANC STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

On this day, exactly 61 years ago, a racist and heartless regime confronted peaceful and unarmed protesters with ruthless brutality. The apartheid regime unleashed its raw aggression on civilians who were protesting against the unjust pass laws. The 21st of March 1960 will remain indelible in the memory of all South Africans for the bravery of the people of Sharpeville and Langa. These martyrs were demonstrating peacefully against unjust pass laws when a vicious regime responded with violence and hatred.

This act of sheer brutality has remained one of the most tragic and painful moments in the history of our land. It was ruthlessly executed in defence of a system that dispossessed our people of their land. The injustices and brutalities of apartheid touched the conscience of the world and moved the world to declare apartheid as a crime against humanity.

The history of the liberation struggle will be incomplete without mentioning the tragic events of Sharpeville and similar ones. March 21, 1960 marked a turning point and a watershed moment in our struggle, in which the oppressed masses took a conscious decision never to submit to the enemy, but to hit back with every available weapon at their disposal in pursuit of their liberation. We remember their act of bravery and courage in the face of an aggressor that was determined to defend and perpetuate minority privilege.

As we mark this important anniversary, we pay tribute to the Sharpeville and Langa generations for their sacrifices. Through their selfless sacrifices, they planted the seeds that continue to ensure that wherever racism, inequality and oppression rear their ugly heads, the people of South Africa rise up to advance the revolution.

In the name of those who perished in Sharpevillle and Langa, we have a duty to ensure that any act of police brutality against innocent and unarmed civilians is not tolerated in a free and democratic South Africa.

As the ANC marks this important day on the anti-apartheid calender, we frown upon the emboldened racism monster, which continues to reverse the gains we have made since 1994. We must confront and defeat racism wherever it rears its ugly head. We urge our members and supporters and all those who embrace the vision of a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa not to tire, but to redouble their efforts to ensure that the demon of racism is consigned to the dustbin of history.

END

ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

Enquiries:
Pule Mabe
National Spokesperson
071 623 4975

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