Did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s failure to address socio- economic rights entrench inequality in South Africa?”
The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) will be hosting a virtual webinar on The Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC): Did the TRC’s failure to address socio-economic rights entrench inequality in South Africa?“ This is the second in the series of webinars organized by the FHR, which focus on various aspects of “Unfinished Business of the TRC”. The webinar will be hosted on Zoom, on the 23rd of September 2020, at 14.00 (SAST). To attend the webinar please register using the following link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_s- ukNV0XT_K08r9xr5yWaQ
At the time when the TRC was taking its shape in South Africa, the concept of transitional justice was largely limited to civil and political violations. It was also during this time when two UN Special Rapporteurs Louis Joinet and El Hadji Guissé were requested to study impunity for gross human rights violations. Their mandate was eventually split with Joinet in charge of civil and political rights, and Guissé working on the socio-economic and cultural rights. Although both of them produced final reports, it was the work of Joinet that dominated the discourse at United Nations.
The mandate of the TRC in South Africa was limited to gross violations of civil and political rights narrowly defined as “the violation of human rights through the killing, abduction, torture or severe ill-treatment of any person” and did not deal with the structural violations of the apartheid system. The latter is the real legacy of the more than 300 years of colonialism and apartheid which includes the racism, rampant inequality, the historical dispossession of land and growing unemployment with Black people bearing the burden of hundreds of years oppression. In light of the above, the webinar will try to answer the following questions:
• In what way the lack of focus on the socio-economic rights at the TRC has affected South Africa today?
• Are truth commissions in the best position to deal with socio-economic rights, especially in light of their limited resources? If not, what transitional mechanisms would be in the better position to address socio-economic rights violations?
• How to make the recommendations by truth commissions in respect of socio- economic and cultural
rights’ violations meaningful in times of transition?
The discussion will be moderated by Ms Yasmin Sooka, the Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and the former TRC Commissioner in South Africa and Sierra Leone. The panel will include the following prominent guest speakers:
• Adv. Kaari Betty Murungi, Former Commissioner of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Kenya
• Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, Former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
• Prof. Sabine Michalowski, Law School, University of Essex
• Mr. Charles Abrahams, Leading Lawyer in Silicosis Class Action
Should require more information on the FHR’s Programme on the Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, kindly consult our website https://www.unfinishedtrc.co.za or contact us at TRCunfinished@fhr.org.za
Lindiwe Sibiya – 082 634 7154