South Africa: Hate crimes petition handed to SA Justice Department

On Wednesday, the Hates Crimes Working Group (HCWG) together with AllOut delivered a petition signed by 21 519 individuals to the department, calling for the bill to be moved forward. It has been over a year since the public last saw the bill, which was sent out for public comment in November 2016.

“Based on the severity of the psychological and emotional impact of hate crime, far beyond the individual victim, we simply cannot wait any longer,” said Sanja Bornman, attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights and chairperson of the HCWG steering committee.

The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will allow judges to consider prejudice, bias or intolerance (such as on the basis of race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, among others) in a crime as an aggravating factor in the sentencing of perpetrators.

In its recently-launched research report, the HCWG documented 945 cases highlighting the serious nature of hate crime and the significant impact it has on victims, families, and the broader community. The report provides recommendations for monitoring, preventing and responding to hate crime, including legislation.

The LGBT community was found to be among the most vulnerable to hate crimes. At the time the study was being conducted, investigations on only 62 cases had been completed and there had been only 16 convictions that included hate motives. Read more via MambaOnline