For 23-year-old KwaZulu-Natal Advocate Luyanda Mbatha, South Africa still has much to do when it comes to protecting human rights.
"I often drive past an informal settlement on my way home to Ladysmith and the right to shelter is still not ideally met. Economic oppression still exists. Government is trying, but it will take time. There is still a lot more to be done."
Mbatha is from Ladysmith's biggest township, Ezakheni, and is an advocate in the High Court of South Africa as well as a member of the Johannesburg Bar.
She said it was important for people, particularly the youth, to know their rights.
"If young people are not aware of their rights, they consequently do not know when they can use them to their advantage or when (their rights have been) violated."
She added that the principles behind Human Rights Day were based on equality for all.
"A lot of people know about this day but do not know its value and the reason why it is celebrated. So, awareness on this day and what it actually stands for is much needed."
Young people must 'challenge the status quo'. She said the day was a "reminder of the sacrifices that were made for us".
"[It reminds] forthcoming generations to live humanly dignified lives. It is a reminder to appreciate what I have and a reminder for me to have a voice."
Mbatha said that defending human rights was a vital part of SA's Constitution.
"In defending people's rights... you are upholding the rule of law for the administration of justice."
Mbatha added that young people had to take their place within society.
"Young people of today need to know and recognise that they are much more than what society portrays them as. They are more capable and... they need to be comfortable with challenging the status quo."
She said that the country was at a stage of renewal and needed new solutions to its problems.
"Our day-to-day challenges are different from those of yesteryear therefore the solutions we need to employ need to adapt to what we face now."