The COVID-19 pandemic has had a “devastating effect” on human rights in South Africa, with soaring cases of gender-based violence (GBV) and xenophobic social media campaigns reported among others, Amnesty International said on Friday.
“South Africa continues to display some of the most pervasive and extreme levels of GBV. It pervades political, economic and social structures of society, cuts across all divides and impacts all aspects of life,” said Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa.
Mohamed said the recently released police quarterly crime statistics report paints a dismal picture of what is happening in the country.
“The total number of sexual offences had increased by 4.7% between July and September. There were over 13,000 domestic violence cases in the same three-month period,” she said in a report marking International Human Rights Day.
Mohamed said it is clear that South Africa is not a safe place for everyone who lives in it and urged police to honor their obligation to protect the rights to life and security of all who live in the country.