School of Law

The Crime of Apartheid beyond Southern Africa: A Call to Revive the Apartheid Convention's "Group of Three"

Professor Victor Kattan and David Johnson call for the revival of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid’s monitoring body, known as the “Group of Three”. At present, the convention remains in force and 109 states are parties to it.

The authors describe the convention as dormant since its monitoring body was suspended in 1995, following the end of apartheid in South Africa. Kattan and Johnson assert that the reasons for suspending the work of the monitoring body are no longer valid, in light of claims by States parties to the Apartheid Convention that apartheid is practiced beyond Southern Africa, in the Rakhine State in Myanmar, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, for example.

The authors specifically point to the likeliness of this type of claim being brought in the context of the Advisory Opinion before the ICJ regarding ‘the legal consequences of Israel’s prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of Palestinian territory, including the “adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”’ The authors conclude that:

‘Institutionalised systems of racial discrimination and domination, unfortunately, did not disappear from the world with the establishment of democracy in Southern Africa. On the contrary, apartheid-like practices have developed in different regions of the world as the forces of racism and ethno-nationalism have been encouraged and harnessed by extremist leaders seeking to attain or retain power. Concerned governments and human rights activists need all the tools available to combat this resurgence, which threatens increasing violence and undermines international cooperation at a time when it is needed most. The Apartheid Convention is potentially a unique and important tool in this effort and the time has come to effectively reactivate its provisions and integrate the Convention into current international human rights protection mechanisms.’

You can read the full post here.

Posted on Monday 25th September 2023

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