Ignoring Cries for Justice, South Africa Fails Victims of Apartheid-era Crimes

1/7/2013

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Years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final recommendations, victims of apartheid-era crimes are still fighting for adequate reparation and rehabilitation. Will the government of South Africa listen?


More than 40 years of apartheid in South Africa cast a long shadow of human rights violations, including massacres, torture, lengthy imprisonment of activists, and crippling racial discrimination.

Despite the groundbreaking work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the 1990s, progress has been slow. Most efforts to achieve accountability for crimes committed during apartheid have failed, and to date, the government of South Africa has ignored the TRC’s recommendations on rehabilitation and reparations for victims.

As a result, many survivors lack the means to deal with material and psychological consequences of apartheid violence, and must face enormous hurdles to have their demands heard.

In the latest episode of ICTJ’s podcast, we speak with ICTJ Senior Program Adviser Howard Varney, a practicing advocate at the Johannesburg Bar, who worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and continues to represent victims of past conflicts in the courts of South Africa to vindicate their rights.

Listen to the interview