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The South African government is working on a framework policy that will hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable, a senior government official has revealed.

The proposed Draft Policy Framework on Combating Hate Crimes, Hate Speech and Unfair Discrimination will help balance the right to dignity and the right to freedom of speech in line with international law, reported Xinhua Wednesday citing John Jeffery, deputy minister for justice and constitutional development.

The policy has already been formulated by the department and is waiting for Cabinet approval so that it can be released for public comment, a government website stated.

According to the government, the policy aims to lead to legislation that will introduce and refine the concept of hate speech in a way that reflects South Africa’s commitment to high standards of free expression while combating hate speech and develop measures to combat hate crime, hate speech and unfair discrimination.

With the help of the proposed bill, the South African government wanted to create a shared definition of hate crimes amongst all those involved in the criminal justice system, Jeffery told a workshop on Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Pretoria.

The move, he said, would send a clear message that hate crimes would not be tolerated in South Africa.

Jeffrey said the bill “will provide additional tools to investigators and prosecutors to hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and will provide a means to monitor efforts and trends in addressing hate crimes”.

(Source: IANS)

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