South Africa: SAHRC to Investigate Hate Speech Complaints Over Use of Diwali Fireworks

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will investigate complaints related to alleged hate speech directed at people of the Hindu faith on social media.

The commission's communications co-ordinator, Gushwell Brooks, said it had received several complaints after Hindu worshippers celebrated the annual Diwali festival on Sunday.

Brooks added the complaints related to alleged attacks on social media over the use of fireworks by followers of the faith.

Diwali is also known as the Hindu festival of lights.

"The commission is sensitive to the tensions caused by the use of fireworks in urban and suburban areas. However, it cannot condone abuse directed at a group of people on the basis of their religion and/or race.

"The SAHRC is particularly concerned by these incidents as the use of fireworks accompanies Diwali, New Year's Eve and other holiday celebrations among South Africa's diverse people," said Brooks.

He added the commission recognised that the use of fireworks was restricted as they traumatised pets and children in particular.

"The commission therefore calls on local government authorities to ensure that they accommodate the needs of communities by ensuring that fireworks are used in safe spaces," Brooks said.


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