SA tells UN that hate crimes bill is coming later this year

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of the Republic of South Africa, John Jeffery

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery

The South African government has told the United Nations Human Rights Committee that a long-awaited hate crimes bill will be presented to Parliament later this year.

The Citizen reported that the news was included in a written report to the committee for its review of the country’s human rights record.

“The bill is intended to address discrimination in the form of hate crimes in all spheres,” reads a reply to issues raised by the committee.

“It will target direct, indirect and multiple discrimination and contain a comprehensive list of grounds for discrimination, including national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, among others.

“It will also provide for adequate sanctions to be imposed by our courts of law.”

The bill will be submitted to Parliament “probably in the second half of 2016, after a comprehensive consultation process”.

According to a government statement, a delegation, led by John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, was set to present South Africa’s report to the committee in Geneva this week.

The report covers the period from 1999 to 2013 and “will inform the committee on measures taken by South African government to ensure the protection of human rights civilians and civil society activists.”

Jeffery will also “reiterate South Africa’s commitment to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and intersex” people.

The hate crimes bill is long-delayed. It was first touted by the government in 2013, which said then that it would be introduced in Parliament the following year.

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