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When is Human Rights Day in 2024?

Human Rights Day in 2024 is on the Thursday, 21st of Mar (3/21/2024).

Human Rights Day is on the 81nd day of 2024. There are 285 days left in the year.

Human Rights Day Facts

  • Date: Mar 21, 2024
  • National
  • Also Called:
  • Celebrations: Celebrations; memorial ceremonies, movies, traveling
Human Rights Day iImage Credit: PixaBay.com

For the rest of the world, Human Rights Day is marked on 10th December. However, South Africa celebrates this day on 21st March every year. Human Rights Day is a public holiday and hence a day off to all South Africans. In 1994 after the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela, the national government declared the day a public holiday. The holiday is a reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre on a similar date in 1960.

History of Human Rights Day

The Human Rights Day in South Africa has its origins in a tragedy by a political party that was fighting apartheid.

In South Africa, it was a rule for all men above the age of 16 to carry their passes ‘dompas’ and produce them when demanded by the police. Failure to produce the pass, forgetting it or the pass not having the right stamp, meant a jail term. South Africans were not happy with this law, and rebel protests kicked off.

On March 21, 1990, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) led by Robert Mangaliso called for peaceful anti-pass protests. He appealed to people to leave their passbooks at home and go to the nearest police station and protest against the humiliating law of carrying passes. There were marches across the country as the protesters made their concerns known.

In the town of Sharpeville, a group of 5000-20000 men gathered outside the police station without their passes.

The police officers panicked, and they opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators. This led to the death of almost 70 people while 180 more were wounded. The police then tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas and batons, a move that left 289 casualties among them, young children.

Later the government banned the two political parties; PAC and ANC. The parties decided to fight back the government through the military groups. The ANC founded Umkhonto we Sizwe while the PAC formed the Azanian People’s Liberation Army. In 1996, the pass laws were eventually appealed.

As an honor to those who lost their lives during the Sharpeville Massacre, South Africans observe March 21st as a day to respect human rights.

Following the proceedings in 1960, the UN also declared 21st March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

How to Celebrate Human Rights Day

Celebrate Human Rights Day by visiting a memorial site. The people who died during the massacre were buried in three places; the memorial garden, the Sharpeville police station where the masses gathered for protests and the Phelindapa Cemetery. Be sure to put flowers on the graves as a sign of respect for those who fought hard for the freedom we enjoy today.

Another good idea is to visit someone who has firsthand experience of what went down on that fateful day. Listening to the stories from someone who experienced the agony in person is definitely fulfilling.

You can also watch a documentary that portrays the devastation of the massacre. The documentary will help you in gaining a better insight into how strict the apartheid regime was.

You can also visit a museum and get to view the conditions black people were forced to live in their own land. Some of the museums in Capetown, Johannesburg, and Durbin also have live performances that show the lives of South Africans during the apartheid era.

Remember to share your thoughts on Human Rights on social media by using the hashtag #HumanRightsDay.

Why Celebrate Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day in South Africa has a dark history. However, through its observation, it becomes an affirmation by ordinary people to proclaim their rights. Its iconic date reminds all the people of South Africa of their rights and the cost that was paid to get the treasured gift, human rights.

On this day, the South African Parliament’s role is to empower its citizens so that they can clearly understand democratic and human rights entitled to them.

Human Rights Day Observances

  • Thu
  • Mar 21, 2013
  • Fri
  • Mar 21, 2014
  • Sat
  • Mar 21, 2015
  • Mon
  • Mar 21, 2016
  • Tue
  • Mar 21, 2017

List of National and Regional Public Holidays of South Africa in 2023

SundaySunJan 01, 2023Jan 01New Year's Day
MondayMonJan 02, 2023Jan 02New Year's Day Holiday
TuesdayTueMar 21, 2023Mar 21Human Rights Day
FridayFriApr 07, 2023Apr 07Good Friday
SundaySunApr 09, 2023Apr 09Easter
MondayMonApr 10, 2023Apr 10Family Day
ThursdayThuApr 27, 2023Apr 27Freedom Day
MondayMonMay 01, 2023May 01Workers Day
ThursdayThuMay 25, 2023May 25Africa Day
FridayFriJun 16, 2023Jun 16Youth Day
TuesdayTueJul 18, 2023Jul 18Nelson Mandela's Birthday
WednesdayWedAug 09, 2023Aug 09National Women's Day
SundaySunSep 24, 2023Sep 24Heritage Day
MondayMonSep 25, 2023Sep 25Heritage Day Holiday
SaturdaySatDec 16, 2023Dec 16Day of Reconciliation
MondayMonDec 25, 2023Dec 25Christmas Day
TuesdayTueDec 26, 2023Dec 26Day of Goodwill

List of Popular Celebration Days of United States in 2023

ThursdayThuJan 12, 2023Jan 12National Pharmacists Day
ThursdayThuJan 19, 2023Jan 19National Popcorn Day
WednesdayWedFeb 01, 2023Feb 01National Signing Day
ThursdayThuFeb 02, 2023Feb 02Groundhog Day
FridayFriFeb 03, 2023Feb 03National Wear Red Day
ThursdayThuFeb 09, 2023Feb 09National Pizza Day
MondayMonFeb 13, 2023Feb 13Galentine's Day
TuesdayTueFeb 14, 2023Feb 14Valentine's Day
WednesdayWedFeb 15, 2023Feb 15National Bagel Day
SaturdaySatFeb 18, 2023Feb 18National Drink Wine Day
TuesdayTueFeb 21, 2023Feb 21National Pancake Day
WednesdayWedFeb 22, 2023Feb 22National Margarita Day
FridayFriMar 03, 2023Mar 03National Employee Appreciation Day
TuesdayTueMar 07, 2023Mar 07National Cereal Day
SundaySunMar 12, 2023Mar 12Daylight savings
MondayMonMar 13, 2023Mar 13National Napping Day
TuesdayTueMar 14, 2023Mar 14National Walkout Day
TuesdayTueMar 14, 2023Mar 14National Pi Day
MondayMonMar 20, 2023Mar 20National Proposal Day
ThursdayThuMar 23, 2023Mar 23National Puppy Day
ThursdayThuMar 30, 2023Mar 30National Doctor Day
WednesdayWedApr 05, 2023Apr 05National Walking Day
ThursdayThuApr 06, 2023Apr 06National Burrito Day
FridayFriApr 07, 2023Apr 07National Beer Day
TuesdayTueApr 11, 2023Apr 11National Pet Day
WednesdayWedApr 12, 2023Apr 12National Grilled Cheese Day
ThursdayThuMay 04, 2023May 04National Day Of Prayer
SundaySunMay 14, 2023May 14Mother's Day
ThursdayThuMay 25, 2023May 25National Towel Day
ThursdayThuMay 25, 2023May 25National Wine Day
FridayFriJun 02, 2023Jun 02National Donut Day
ThursdayThuJun 08, 2023Jun 08National Best Friends Day
SundaySunJun 18, 2023Jun 18Father's Day
WednesdayWedJun 21, 2023Jun 21National Selfie Day
ThursdayThuJun 22, 2023Jun 22National Kissing Day
TuesdayTueJul 11, 2023Jul 11Amazon Prime Day
ThursdayThuJul 13, 2023Jul 13National French Fry Day
FridayFriJul 14, 2023Jul 14National Nude Day
SundaySunJul 16, 2023Jul 16National Ice Cream Day
WednesdayWedJul 19, 2023Jul 19National Hot Dog Day
MondayMonJul 24, 2023Jul 24National Tequila Day
SaturdaySatJul 29, 2023Jul 29National Chicken Wing Day
TuesdayTueAug 01, 2023Aug 01National Girlfriends Day
SundaySunAug 06, 2023Aug 06National Sister Day
MondayMonSep 18, 2023Sep 18National Cheeseburger Day
TuesdayTueOct 03, 2023Oct 03National Boyfriends Day
WednesdayWedOct 04, 2023Oct 04National Vodka Day
WednesdayWedOct 04, 2023Oct 04National Taco Day
MondayMonOct 09, 2023Oct 09Leif Erikson Day
SaturdaySatOct 21, 2023Oct 21Sweetest Day
SundaySunOct 29, 2023Oct 29National Cat Day
TuesdayTueOct 31, 2023Oct 31Halloween
FridayFriNov 03, 2023Nov 03National Sandwich Day
FridayFriNov 24, 2023Nov 24Black Friday
MondayMonNov 27, 2023Nov 27Cyber Monday
SaturdaySatDec 02, 2023Dec 02Candle Day
SaturdaySatDec 09, 2023Dec 09National Pastry Day
FridayFriDec 15, 2023Dec 15National Ugly Sweater day