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Human Rights and Treatment

The Bill of Rights preserved in the South African Constitution is the cornerstone of all South Africans constitutional and representative democracy. The Constitution as the supreme law means that no laws may be passed that goes against it. The Bill of Rights also comprehensively addresses South Africa’s history of oppression, colonialism, slavery, racism and sexism and other forms of human violations. The Bill of Rights embeds the rights of all people in our country in an enduring affirmation of the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. Your human rights can never be taken away, however, they can sometimes be restricted in cases where one breaks the law.

So what are my rights in treatment?

Constitutional Rights

  1. The right nor to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause, clause 12(1)

  2. The right to not be treated or punished in a cruel, inhumane or degrading way clause 12 (1)

  3. The right not to be subjected to forced labour, clause 13 and to unfair practises clause 23

  4. The right of bodily and psychological integrity clause 12(2)

  5. The right to freedom of religion belief and opinion, clause 15

  6. The right to freedom of expression clause 16

  7. The right to basic education, clause 29

  8. The right to equality, equal protection and benefit before the law, clause 9(l)

Health Rights

  1. The right to dignified and humane treatment and care

  2. The right to have access to treatment services, state facilities and subsidised facilities, irrespective of the client's ability to pay

  3. The right to effective communication in a language and manner that clients understand

  4. The right to reasonable expectations in terms of the range of services offered and the quality of care provided

  5. To right to local availability services

  6. The right to exercise choice and guide treatment through informed consent

  7. Freedom from discrimination in terms of inequitable access to treatment

  8. The right to privacy and confidentiality

  9. The right to appropriate treatment and medication

  10. The right to protection from psychological, physical and verbal abuse

  11. The right to adequate information about his/her clinical and treatment status, and the range and options of treatments available

  12. The right to prompt assistance especially in emergency situations

  13. The right to safe treatment environments, and adequate water, sanitation and waste disposal

  14. The rights to protection from life-threatening diseases

  15. The right to express opinions and make complaints that shall be investigated

It is essential that all Humans know their most basic rights afforded to them. Below are some of the most crucial rights you should know.

Right to equality

Everyone's equal and must be treated equally. No individual has the right to discriminate another based on the person’s race, gender, sex, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief, culture, language, birth or other status.

Freedom of opinion and expression

Everyone has the freedom to say, write or print what they want, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. However this right must never violate anyone else’s right or break the law in any way. Cruel punishment

Everyone has the right not to be punished in a cruel, inhumane or degrading way.

Quality of care

Every individual has the right to quality of care in terms of the range of services offered.

Human dignity

Every individual has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected.

Personal privacy

Everyone is entitled to personal privacy. Equal before the law

Everyone is equal before the law, and are entitled to equal protection without any discrimination.

Freedom of thought and religion

Everyone is entitled to freedom of thought and religion, this includes freedom to change your religion or belief, to manifest your religion or belief in teaching, practice and worship.


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