IN commemoration of the upcoming national holiday on March 21, Human Rights Day, the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT) gathered with the community of Diepsloot at St Mungos Church in Extension 4 to celebrate women’s and children’s rights. The purpose of the event was to educate the community on what basic human rights are and how they can be infringed. Speakers included representatives from the legal fraternity and community leaders.
NCVT, a non-profit organisation that works within the community of Diepsloot and its surrounding areas, hosted over 80 community members at their annual Human Rights Day Dialogue. The campaign was aimed at encouraging a healthy society free from violence, and was used as a platform to discuss how to eradicate oppression.
The programme kicked off with social workers sharing why they thought human rights are important. A discussion on what is considered to be an infringement of one’s human rights followed. Social workers attended the event to assist community members and resolve reported cases throughout the day. Members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) listened to community members talk about their experiences with the SAPS when reporting abuse. Together, they discussed how best the police can support the community in future. The NCVT choir kept guests entertained throughout the programme.
Lindsay Henson, a lawyer from a non-profit organisation Lawyers Against Abuse (LAA) (located in Diepsloot Extension 2 – next to the fire station), which is NCVT’s partner in dealing with cases of human rights violation in Diepsloot, talked about the different types of human rights and how the constitutional law protects the victim. LAA assists victims to follow-up on cases and also helps victims complete protection order forms for free. Their main focus is assisting with domestic violence, sexual abuse and some criminal cases around Diepsloot. Henson encouraged attendees not only to report cases, but to attend weekly counselling sessions held by LAA affiliates as well. This, in an effort to help victims stabilise emotionally and heal from the trauma they may carry.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the event – it shows that the Diepsloot community take their basic human rights seriously. It is so wonderful to see how the community members are empowered with the right information; we believe it will help them in practical ways to live safe lives where they can stand up for their human rights,” said Judith Mthombeni, senior social worker at NCVT, “ And we wish each South African citizen a safe, informative and empowering Human Rights Day,”