After the first democratic elections in South Africa, the 21st of March was declared as Human Rights Day – to celebrate the nation’s progress with respect to Human Rights and remind South Africans of “the gross extent of human rights violations” and the events surrounding the Sharpeville Massacre. The theme for 2017 is “Unity in action in advancing Human Rights”.

Today is not just a day to observe the injustices and discrimination that happened in the past; but, also to embrace the ‘fundamentals of human rights, equality for all and cultural diversity in South Africa’.  As part of that call, we at AFS Interculture South Africa are commemorating Human Rights Day by appreciating the dignity and worth of every human being and of all nations and cultures.

21st March is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to read more and to ‘take the pledge’, go to and #standup4humanrights

AFS was founded upon the idea of service and grew into an exchange programme that our founders hoped would maintain and strengthen the international friendships and understanding that they had fostered during their wartime humanitarian work. Today, in South Africa, we aim to actively connect people – in order to learn to live and work together – by creating understanding and harmony between the diverse cultures within South Africa and globally. For it is only through understanding each other that we can stand together for all of our rights.

Over the past 70 years, AFS has helped people from different cultures learn how to live together and become global citizens through a worldwide network of more than 40,000 volunteers. Working with schools and education experts around the globe through our study abroad and other programmes, AFS has developed educational strategies and activities to help on the path to understanding and acceptance.

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As members or supporters of AFS, let us confront hateful speech with thoughtful dialogue. Let us welcome our differences, instead of ignoring them. Let us recognise our prejudices and strive to overcome them by seeking diversity. As global citizens, the more just and peaceful world that we want must be for everyone.

#AFSeffect   #AFSSouthAfrica   #endracism   #enddiscrimination   #rights4all