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When is Human Rights Day in 2025?

Human Rights Day in 2025 is on the Friday, 21st of Mar (3/21/2025).

Human Rights Day is on the 80nd day of 2025. There are 285 days left in the year.

Human Rights Day Facts

  • Date: Mar 21, 2025
  • National
  • Also Called:
  • Celebrations: Celebrations; memorial ceremonies, movies, traveling
Human Rights Day iImage Credit: PixaBay.com

For the rest of the world, Human Rights Day is marked on 10th December. However, South Africa celebrates this day on 21st March every year. Human Rights Day is a public holiday and hence a day off to all South Africans. In 1994 after the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela, the national government declared the day a public holiday. The holiday is a reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre on a similar date in 1960.

History of Human Rights Day

The Human Rights Day in South Africa has its origins in a tragedy by a political party that was fighting apartheid.

In South Africa, it was a rule for all men above the age of 16 to carry their passes ‘dompas’ and produce them when demanded by the police. Failure to produce the pass, forgetting it or the pass not having the right stamp, meant a jail term. South Africans were not happy with this law, and rebel protests kicked off.

On March 21, 1990, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) led by Robert Mangaliso called for peaceful anti-pass protests. He appealed to people to leave their passbooks at home and go to the nearest police station and protest against the humiliating law of carrying passes. There were marches across the country as the protesters made their concerns known.

In the town of Sharpeville, a group of 5000-20000 men gathered outside the police station without their passes.

The police officers panicked, and they opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators. This led to the death of almost 70 people while 180 more were wounded. The police then tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas and batons, a move that left 289 casualties among them, young children.

Later the government banned the two political parties; PAC and ANC. The parties decided to fight back the government through the military groups. The ANC founded Umkhonto we Sizwe while the PAC formed the Azanian People’s Liberation Army. In 1996, the pass laws were eventually appealed.

As an honor to those who lost their lives during the Sharpeville Massacre, South Africans observe March 21st as a day to respect human rights.

Following the proceedings in 1960, the UN also declared 21st March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

How to Celebrate Human Rights Day

Celebrate Human Rights Day by visiting a memorial site. The people who died during the massacre were buried in three places; the memorial garden, the Sharpeville police station where the masses gathered for protests and the Phelindapa Cemetery. Be sure to put flowers on the graves as a sign of respect for those who fought hard for the freedom we enjoy today.

Another good idea is to visit someone who has firsthand experience of what went down on that fateful day. Listening to the stories from someone who experienced the agony in person is definitely fulfilling.

You can also watch a documentary that portrays the devastation of the massacre. The documentary will help you in gaining a better insight into how strict the apartheid regime was.

You can also visit a museum and get to view the conditions black people were forced to live in their own land. Some of the museums in Capetown, Johannesburg, and Durbin also have live performances that show the lives of South Africans during the apartheid era.

Remember to share your thoughts on Human Rights on social media by using the hashtag #HumanRightsDay.

Why Celebrate Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day in South Africa has a dark history. However, through its observation, it becomes an affirmation by ordinary people to proclaim their rights. Its iconic date reminds all the people of South Africa of their rights and the cost that was paid to get the treasured gift, human rights.

On this day, the South African Parliament’s role is to empower its citizens so that they can clearly understand democratic and human rights entitled to them.

Human Rights Day Observances

  • Thu
  • Mar 21, 2013
  • Fri
  • Mar 21, 2014
  • Sat
  • Mar 21, 2015
  • Mon
  • Mar 21, 2016
  • Tue
  • Mar 21, 2017

List of National and Regional Public Holidays of South Africa in 2024

MondayMonJan 01, 2024Jan 01New Year's Day
ThursdayThuMar 21, 2024Mar 21Human Rights Day
FridayFriMar 29, 2024Mar 29Good Friday
SundaySunMar 31, 2024Mar 31Easter
MondayMonApr 01, 2024Apr 01Family Day
SaturdaySatApr 27, 2024Apr 27Freedom Day
WednesdayWedMay 01, 2024May 01Workers Day
SaturdaySatMay 25, 2024May 25Africa Day
SundaySunJun 16, 2024Jun 16Youth Day
MondayMonJun 17, 2024Jun 17Youth Day Holidays
ThursdayThuJul 18, 2024Jul 18Nelson Mandela's Birthday
FridayFriAug 09, 2024Aug 09National Women's Day
TuesdayTueSep 24, 2024Sep 24Heritage Day
MondayMonDec 16, 2024Dec 16Day of Reconciliation
WednesdayWedDec 25, 2024Dec 25Christmas Day
ThursdayThuDec 26, 2024Dec 26Day of Goodwill

List of Popular Celebration Days of United States in 2024

FridayFriJan 12, 2024Jan 12National Pharmacists Day
FridayFriJan 19, 2024Jan 19National Popcorn Day
FridayFriFeb 02, 2024Feb 02Groundhog Day
FridayFriFeb 02, 2024Feb 02National Wear Red Day
WednesdayWedFeb 07, 2024Feb 07National Signing Day
FridayFriFeb 09, 2024Feb 09National Pizza Day
TuesdayTueFeb 13, 2024Feb 13Galentine's Day
TuesdayTueFeb 13, 2024Feb 13National Pancake Day
WednesdayWedFeb 14, 2024Feb 14Valentine's Day
ThursdayThuFeb 15, 2024Feb 15National Bagel Day
SundaySunFeb 18, 2024Feb 18National Drink Wine Day
ThursdayThuFeb 22, 2024Feb 22National Margarita Day
ThursdayThuFeb 29, 2024Feb 29Leap Day
FridayFriMar 01, 2024Mar 01National Employee Appreciation Day
ThursdayThuMar 07, 2024Mar 07National Cereal Day
SundaySunMar 10, 2024Mar 10Daylight savings
MondayMonMar 11, 2024Mar 11National Napping Day
ThursdayThuMar 14, 2024Mar 14National Walkout Day
ThursdayThuMar 14, 2024Mar 14National Pi Day
WednesdayWedMar 20, 2024Mar 20National Proposal Day
SaturdaySatMar 23, 2024Mar 23National Puppy Day
SaturdaySatMar 30, 2024Mar 30National Doctor Day
WednesdayWedApr 03, 2024Apr 03National Walking Day
ThursdayThuApr 04, 2024Apr 04National Burrito Day
SundaySunApr 07, 2024Apr 07National Beer Day
ThursdayThuApr 11, 2024Apr 11National Pet Day
FridayFriApr 12, 2024Apr 12National Grilled Cheese Day
ThursdayThuMay 02, 2024May 02National Day Of Prayer
SundaySunMay 12, 2024May 12Mother's Day
SaturdaySatMay 25, 2024May 25National Towel Day
SaturdaySatMay 25, 2024May 25National Wine Day
FridayFriJun 07, 2024Jun 07National Donut Day
SaturdaySatJun 08, 2024Jun 08National Best Friends Day
SundaySunJun 16, 2024Jun 16Father's Day
FridayFriJun 21, 2024Jun 21National Selfie Day
SaturdaySatJun 22, 2024Jun 22National Kissing Day
SaturdaySatJul 13, 2024Jul 13National French Fry Day
SundaySunJul 14, 2024Jul 14National Nude Day
WednesdayWedJul 17, 2024Jul 17National Hot Dog Day
SundaySunJul 21, 2024Jul 21National Ice Cream Day
TuesdayTueJul 23, 2024Jul 23Amazon Prime Day
WednesdayWedJul 24, 2024Jul 24National Tequila Day
MondayMonJul 29, 2024Jul 29National Chicken Wing Day
ThursdayThuAug 01, 2024Aug 01National Girlfriends Day
SundaySunAug 04, 2024Aug 04National Sister Day
WednesdayWedSep 18, 2024Sep 18National Cheeseburger Day
ThursdayThuOct 03, 2024Oct 03National Boyfriends Day
FridayFriOct 04, 2024Oct 04National Vodka Day
FridayFriOct 04, 2024Oct 04National Taco Day
WednesdayWedOct 09, 2024Oct 09Leif Erikson Day
SaturdaySatOct 19, 2024Oct 19Sweetest Day
TuesdayTueOct 29, 2024Oct 29National Cat Day
ThursdayThuOct 31, 2024Oct 31Halloween
SundaySunNov 03, 2024Nov 03National Sandwich Day
FridayFriNov 29, 2024Nov 29Black Friday
MondayMonDec 02, 2024Dec 02Cyber Monday
SaturdaySatDec 07, 2024Dec 07Candle Day
MondayMonDec 09, 2024Dec 09National Pastry Day
FridayFriDec 20, 2024Dec 20National Ugly Sweater day