Human Rights Violations: Apartheid and the Sharpeville Massacre

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Human Rights Violations: Apartheid and the Sharpeville Massacre Unfortunately, cases of human rights violations, ethnic oppression and genocide can be found throughout history. In almost every situation, there is a turning point in which the world is shocked into supporting the oppressed group – but often after many people have died. This is what happened with apartheid in South Africa 50 years ago. Under apartheid, which means “separate,” the black native majority was oppressed by the white European minority in power from 1948 until 1994. One event, like many before it in history, became a tipping point both inside and outside the country. That event was the Sharpeville Massacre on March 21, 1960. For thousands of years people have been mistreated, misrepresented and enslaved. From incidents as early as the enslaving of Jewish people in Ancient Egypt, to the current problem in Darfur, people’s natural rights have been violated. Shortly after World War II the United Nations wrote the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states that, “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This document seeks to protect every human’s right to life, liberty and protection under the law, worldwide. In the case of apartheid in South Africa, 9 of the rights in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights were violated by the European minority in power in the mid-20th century. The tension created by apartheid is deeply rooted in African history. Ideologies such as Social Darwinism caused extreme tension and the laws put in place by the European powers caused extreme tension that eventually lead to a breaking point. In the 1800’s European explorers traveled to Africa. The European explorers believed it was their duty to civilize

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