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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

STATEMENT ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
PRESIDENT OF THE UDM

The UDM calls on all South Africans to celebrate Human Rights Day in the spirit of pride and joy that we created a culture of human rights since 1994. The UDM salutes the millions of South Africans who respect human rights and who affirm on a daily basis the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

On this day, if we are to root out any remaining vestiges of human rights abuse, it is apt that the whole country exercises introspection. Such introspection must recognise that in spite of all our successes since 1994, there are two aspects of our society that require urgent attention.

Firstly, that women and children are exposed to unacceptable and ridiculously high levels of abuse, crime and inequality. This is an indictment against a society striving for a human rights culture. As a country we must all unite to eradicate this gross violation of human rights.

Secondly, we must recognise that human rights and race are inextricably linked in South Africa. In this regard it is of great concern to the UDM that South Africa seems to be regressing in terms of race and politics. The "uhuru" following 1994 has been replaced by a cynicism that drives racial groups into separate political camps. This is illustrated by the latest election results that reflect an increasing racial divide between political parties. The UDM continues to campaign for a political landscape that is not defined by race, recognising that only when the spectre of racial politics is dismantled will South Africans truly be able to unite and consolidate democracy and human rights.

Democracy and human rights, to paraphrase an American president, should not be taken for granted; we must remain eternally vigilant.

Enquiries:

Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President

Cape Town
20 March 2001

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