Restoring dignity to the oppressed

Section 9 of the South African Constitution provides that no one may be discriminated against based on their gender, race, ethnicity, birth, sexual orientation and nationality; to name a few of the listed grounds. Discrimination and prejudice adversely affect not only those being discriminated against, but society as a whole. The dominant social biases that relate to gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and ethnicity give rise to hate crimes and systemic exclusion, which disproportionately affects persons living in poor communities. Equality, dignity and access to justice are eroded and undermined.

The LRC works to address injustices, combat discrimination and restore peoples’ dignity in terms of the rights contained in our Constitution and regional and international treaties. The LRC appreciates that women face the intersection of various forms of discrimination and prejudice. Through our holistic approach to addressing inequality, we seek to advocate and litigate in a manner that recognises and appreciates the diversity of our clients and the situations in which they find themselves.

  • The LRC works to secure the effective implementation of laws and policies that seek to address gender-based violence (GBV). We recognise that transgender and gender non-conforming persons are of particular risk to GBV within our country.
  • We work to advance equal access and protection of rights for those living with disabilities; who are often the least visible within our society and most at risk of rights’ violations.
  • We advocate and litigate to advance the recognition of women married in terms of Islamic and Hindu religions; in this way, protecting women’s rights to land and property.
  • We seek to protect women’s rights to live and express their customs free from harmful practices, such as forced marriage and virginity testing, and recognise that custom is alive and able to adapt in order to protect the Constitutional rights of women.
  • Our work done on women’s rights to work included: advocating for the recognition of women’s unpaid care work and the work done by community care workers, in order to strengthen our health sector; the decriminalisation of sex work; and women’s right to choose her own profession.

Together with partner organisations, the LRC has sought to advance the rights of the most marginalised in our society within the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights by advocating for the rights of Transgender Persons. Similarly, we have advanced protection- based arguments at UN level to committees dealing with socio-economic rights (rights at work), rights of children (transgender and intersex children) and through the Universal Periodic Review (Transgender and Intersex Persons and Gender-Based Violence).