UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
 
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South Africa - Constitution

Adopted on: 8 May 1996 (Document Status: 7 Feb 1997)

Section 6 Languages 

(5) A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must - 
(b) promote and ensure respect for - 
(ii) Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.
Section 9 Equality 
(3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. 
(4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination. 
(5) Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.
Section 15 Freedom of religion, belief and opinion 
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. 
(2) Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that - 
(a) those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities; 
(b) they are conducted on an equitable basis; and 
(c) attendance at them is free and voluntary. 
(3) (a) This section does not prevent legislation recognising - 
(i) marriages concluded under any tradition, or a system of religious, personal or family law; or 
(ii) systems of personal and family law under any tradition, or adhered to by persons professing a particular religion. 
(b) Recognition in terms of paragraph (a) must be consistent with this section and the other provisions of the Constitution.
Section 16 Freedom of expression 
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression (...).
(2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to - 
(c) advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
Section 31 Cultural, religious and linguistic communities 
(1) Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community - 
(a) to enjoy their culture, practise their religion and use their language; and 
(b) to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society. 
(2) The rights in subsection (1) may not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights.
Section 35 Arrested, detained and accused persons 
(2) Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right: (f) to communicate with, and be visited by, that person's - 
(iii) chosen religious counsellor; (...)
Section 181 Establishment and governing principles 
(1) The following state institutions strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic: 
(c) The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. 
Section 185 Functions of Commission 
(1) The primary objects of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities are - 
(a) to promote respect for the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities; 
(b) to promote and develop peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among cultural, religious and linguistic communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association; and 
(c) to recommend the establishment or recognition, in accordance with national legislation, of a cultural or other council or councils for a community or communities in South Africa. 
(2) The Commission has the power, as regulated by national legislation, necessary to achieve its primary objects, including the power to monitor, investigate, research, educate, lobby, advise and report on issues concerning the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities. 
(3) The Commission may report any matter which falls within its powers and functions to the Human Rights Commission for investigation. 
(4) The Commission has the additional powers and functions prescribed by national legislation.
Section 186 Composition of Commission 
(1) The number of members of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and their appointment and terms of office must be prescribed by national legislation. 
(2) The composition of the Commission must- 
(a) be broadly representative of the main cultural, religious and linguistic communities in South Africa; and 
(b) broadly reflect the gender composition of South Africa.
Note: Further information on the constitutional background of South Africa is provided by the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Wuerzburg. 
 


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