Topic: SociologyHuman Rights

Last updated: August 7, 2019

While “The Charter consists of a Preamble of eight articles which express the needs for a charter. This is then followed by the Charter itself, comprised of 12 articles with sub-divisions, stating the religious rights and freedoms of religious people and communities in South Africa. These include, amongst others: •the right to gather to observe religious belief (article1); •freedom of expression regarding religion (article 6); •the right of citizens to make choices according to their convictions (article 2); •the right of citizens to change their faith (article 2); •the right of persons to be educated in their faith (article 7); • the right of citizens to educate their children in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions (article 7); •the right to refuse to perform certain duties or assist in activities that violate their religious belief (article 2(3)); and • the rights of religions to institutional freedom (article 9, Secondly, “the 2001 census figures, over 80% of South Africans regard themselves as Christians, spread over 34 groupings and numerous denominations. Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and African traditional beliefs comprise almost 5% of believers, with around 15% of the population adhering either to traditional indigenous religions or no religion at all.

It is thus clear that South Africa is a religious society with most of the population holding at least some form of religious conviction”. because Thirdly, The Constitution of South Africa permits or prohibit any right that conflicts with the law. In practical terms, the law needs to be obeyed by all citizens, society religion which has certain advantages before the law of the land. Neither can any religion in the country claim any theocratic advantages from the state and the courts. Before the law, all religions are equal and must be treated as such.

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, LASTLY, In South Africa, freedom of religion is entrenched as a fundamental right in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (“Constitution”). The Constitutional Court of South Africa has described the practice of religion as one of the hallmarks of an open, democratic and free society, that awakens “concepts of self-worth and human dignity which form the cornerstone of human rights, and It is submitted, however, that a review of this Policy is imperative, to bring it in line with section 15(2) of the Constitution. What is required is a clearly formulated policy that informs parents, learners, and teachers about the nature of the school’s religious ethos and character and the way religious observances will be conducted during the school day. A properly drafted policy will eliminate many of the problems associated with religious observances as it will ensure that all stakeholders are clear on the nature of the religious observances that are conducted at the school and are able to follow the correct procedures should they wish to be exempt from participation.


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