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17 October 2014
South Africa

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The leading South Africans who drew up the country's new constitution in 1996 were deeply aware of the country's painful past and of how all Africans had suffered under apartheid. As a result, "human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms" were to guide everything the Government did.

The Bill of Rights is one of the most progressive constitutional documents in the world. Not only does it guarantee the traditional civil rights such as the right to vote, free expression, the rights of association and assembly, but also important social rights such as the right to clean water, health and to be gay or lesbian without being discriminated against. Some of the most important rights are:

the state does not have the right to search your house, seize your possessions or interfere with your letters, emails or phone calls.

Freedom of movement
the state recognises the right to campaign, form a political party, stand for parliament or join any campaign or pressure group.

Freedom of relifion, belief and concscience
the state recognises every person's right to their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions.

the state will not allow discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sex, social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, language or birth.

Freedom and Security
this includes freedom from arrest without just cause and bans both imprisonment without trial and torture. It also includes a woman's right to choose.

Freedom of Expression
this includes a free press and other media, and free artistic expression.

The right to life
no-one has the right to take away your life.

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