Public holidays are the best. You get a day off to laze around. Such was the case on Human Rights Day which was on 21 March this year. Yet when all the hype of the day has subsided, do you ever sit and think what on earth are all these rights? Seriously now, what’s the big deal?
You see, regardless of where you may find yourself, you have rights. This article will highlight some of those rights that may apply to you as a student on campus and/or in your academically orientated student digz. Keep reading to find out what all the bells and whistles are about concerning human rights.
You have the right to Freedom of Trade, Occupation, and Profession
It does not matter if you want to study medicine, engineering, be a cop, pilot, athlete or comedian; you have the right to become what you want to be – so long as you meet the set requirements. You don’t have to be a street sweeper because your entire family is limited to such by certain socially constructed caste systems.
You have the right to Freedom of Religion, Belief, and Opinion
Your faith and beliefs are amongst the greatest importance to you as a human being and the South African Constitution protects them. You have the right to choose your church, religion and belief system that you want to believe in. No one may force and/or manipulate you to believe, think or feel something you don’t want to.
You have the right to Privacy
In as much as you may be renting a room or bed in your digs or just taking up a fraction of space on campus; no one can forcefully look into your personal belongings, force you to give up banking passwords and social media access or look inside your pockets (without valid, dignified and clear legal authorisation).
You have a right to Freedom and Security of the Person
It does not matter if there is a campus tradition of initiation that has been going on for 100s of years; no one is allowed to bully you even if you are a first year. Your physical or psychological wellbeing are protected and abuse goes against your human rights.
You have a right to Education
You have the right to further your studies at your institution of learning regardless of your background, family stance and background – so long as you meet the set requirements.
Make no mistake there are many more rights that apply to you when you are on campus such as a right to Freedom of Expression and peacefully Picket during protests. Again we repeat that with rights come responsibilities.
If you feel that your rights have been violated, talk to someone that you trust, such as campus security, therapists or the police. You can also contact The South African Human Rights Commission online or call them on +27 11 877 3825 or +27 11 877 3803.
Never forget that you (and your rights) are worthy of highest care and praise.