The CRL Act 19 of 2002 provides for inverstigation and conflict resolution on any issue concerning the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities. Since its inception in 2004, the CRL Rights Commission receives complaints and requests from CRL communities. Most of the complains raise complex issues which often require extensive investigation to establish the nature of the complaint. Notwithstanding some challenges, the Conflict Resolution sub-programme commits itself to successfully resolve the complaints received relevant to the mandate of the CRL Rights Commission.
The CRL Rights Commission faces the challenge that the heritage(s) of a majority of South African communities has diminished. The CRL Rights Act, 19 of 2002 provides for the recovery of the diminished heritage(s) in order to promote and protect the rights of communities to their heritage(s). The Commission's Research and Policy Development Unit is entrusted with a huge responsibility of developing a knowledge base through research, and it is through this knowledge construction and reconstruction that the rights of communities will be safeguarded. C- R- L- Communities themselves participate and provide reliable information in respect of diminished heritage.
The main objective of this unit is to: to Promote Community Participation through Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Community Structures. Section 36(1) of Act 19 of 2002, provides that the Commission should recognize Community Councils, and Section (36)(1) provides that persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may form , join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic association with other organs of civil society as provided in Section 38 of the Act. Section (38) stipulates the aims which contain the preservation, promotion and development of cultures, religions and languages of communities. These aims are also meant to be cornerstones of advising the Commission on, and assist in matters concerning the achievement of its goals.
The following need to be known by communities when they believe that their cultural, religious or linguistic rights are denied or violated:
A complaint should be made in writing, in prescribed forms in various ways including walk-in, fax, email, postal address, referrals, telephone, and any other mode of communication. The Complainant must complete a complaint form in order to capture his/ her personal details. Forms can also be accessed on the website of the Commission: www.crlcommission.org.za or by requesting the Commission to send such to those in need. However, the Commission will assist those who cannot write or the disabled to put their complaints in writing.
A person belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may lodge a complaint with the Commission when that person/community believes that rights are threatened or that they are denied the right to enjoy and practice their culture and religion and use their language; as well as when that community is denied the right to freely form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations.