Judy Seidman will represent Khulumani Support Group at the Colombian Dialogue for Peace being hosted in Colombia between April 18 and 22, 2013.
Khulumani is proud to be invited to participate in this very important new platform in which civil society actors are coming together to strategise on alternative approaches to securing lives of dignity for grass roots communities in the struggle to construct sustainable and stable paths towards just, equitable and democratic societies.
ON APRIL 17, the US Supreme Court handed down the long-awaited Kiobel decision, which is considered a blow to human rights victims resorting to the Alien Tort Claims Act to seek redress from corporations that commit human rights violations. The decision has profound implications for South African apartheid victims seeking redress.
The Alien Tort Claims Act is a US statute, enacted in 1789, that provides US federal courts with extraterritorial jurisdiction. This means it allows foreign victims to sue foreign individuals or companies for violations of international law in US courts.
On Wednesday, 17 April 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Nigerian plaintiffs who had claimed that the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company had been complicit in violating their human rights, may not continue their litigation in US courts using the Alien Tort Statute, the 1789 statute enacted to deal with violations committed by pirates on the high seas.
The decision is a major blow for the plaintiffs in the Kiobel case. Its impact on the South Africa Apartheid Litigation which has been pending before the Second Circuit Court since January 2010, awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel, is not yet clear.
As a membership organisation committed to social justice and the transformation of social relationships in South Africa, Khulumani Support Group appreciates the thoughtful questions raised by the blogger ragamuffin(Linda Martindale) in her piece called Let's Play Join the Dots(and shared more widely by Kairos Southern Africa).
Since 2010, Khulumani has been organising and hosting social encounter tours of townships around Johannesburg.
On May 14 and 15, Mr Simon Nko from Katlehong assisted by Mr Freedom Ngubonde from Soweto will host a group of students from the University of Virginia for a two-day exploration of the sites of struggle in Gauteng involving meeting Khulumani members who were involved in that struggle.
The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights issued its report on May 2 finding that there are major gaps in the capacity of the United States to protect human rights in business activities.
In the context of this report, the action of the US Supreme Court of Appeal in reducing the scope of application of the Alien Tort Statute depends concerns about the lack of adequate available mechanisms to hold corporations accountable for aiding and abetting the perpetration of gross human rights violations by companies with strong links to the United States.
Khulumani members constituted a significant percentage of the audience in the debate that was screened on Sunday night, April 7 on SABC3. The programme raised issues of the extent of exclusion of nearly 50% of South Africa's population from what is needed for a life of dignity and contribution.
Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister for Public Enterprises and a member of the ANC's Economic Transformation Committee, admitted that the many grievances expressed by Khulumani members who used the opportunity to speak out about the circumstances of their lives, were legitimate.
A week ago the passengers of the Worcester Peace Train gathered in the Dutch Reformed Church Hall in Worcester to reflect on their train journey. The passengers extended great gratitude towards the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process, the Restitution Foundation, the Khulumani Support Group, the Department of Correctional Services and all the sponsors who made the journey possible.