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The Uitenhage Victims of Apartheid Support Group is calling on Deputy Minister Mr Nhlanhla Nene to open a Second Term of Review of Special Pension applications and to include representatives of the South African Human Rights Commission and of Khulumani Support Group on the review panel as independent and reliable sources of information.

LAUNCH : 11 June 2011 14h00 - 16h00  
WHERE: Old Fort Mess Hall, Constitutional Hill, 1 Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Shirley Gunn


Breaking the Silence: A luta continua documents a process involving over a  thousand Khulumani Support Group members in the Western Cape, who used scrapbooks, bodymaps, photographs, memory cloths, drawings, paintings, art banners and film to tell the stories of their lives under apartheid.

The South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ or the Coalition) submits the following comments regarding the May 11, 2011 General Notice 282 published in the Government Gazette.  The SACTJ consists of the Khulumani Support Group, Centre for the Study of Violence & Reconciliation, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Human Rights Media Centre, South African History Archives, International Center for Transitional Justice, Freedom of Expression Institute and the Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture.

Taking measures to provide full and comprehensive reparations measures would be the most fitting tribute to Ma’Sisulu as a woman who shared the pain and suffering of victims and survivors.

This evening, the South African Historical Archives (SAHA) received a detailed repsonse to the request it submitted to the TRC Unit for information on which TRC-identified individuals had managed to access reparations in the interim period between the payment of final reparations packages of R30,000.00 to TRC-identified victims and the present gazetting of reparaitons regulations.

Significantly, it has taken the DOJ just one week to give the SACTJ answers to their questions.This is the kind of responsiveness that we have been seeking for the six years since the institution of the TRC Unit in the Department of Justice.

Khulumani expresses deep concern at news of the closure by the Department of Home Affairs of its Crown Mines Refugee Reception Centre in Johannesburg and its potential impact on some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

On May 31, 2011, CoRMSA, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa alerted South African Civil Society that the Department of Home Affairs had decided to close down the only Refugee Reception Centre in Johannesburg. The decision comes after a court application by Crown Mines business people who argued that it was a civil nuisance to businesses in the area.

On June 20 of each year, the world commemorates World Refugee Day. This year's commemoration marks the 60th Anniversary of the adoption by the OAU 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. On this day we remember the 15 million refugees who have been uprooted from their homes by conflict or persecution.

In particular for Khulumani, we remember the ongoing struggles for justice of those who have sought asylum in South Africa. Many members of Khulumani and their loved ones sought protection in African countries during the struggle. South Africans owe host states in Africa a debt of gratitude for accommodating thousands of South African anti-apartheid activists during the liberation struggle.

On 11 May 2011, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) gazetted regulations for the payment of educational assistance and health benefits exclusively to victims identified by the TRC. The regulations were gazetted after a very superficial consultation process with victims and other stakeholders.

Today two young men appear in the Evander Magistrates' Court in Mpumalanga Province charged with malicious damage to property for their vandalisation of the statue of Nokuthula Simelane which they brokefr om its base and dragged behind a bakkie until they were found and arrested by police.

Khulumani has submitted a letter to the National Prosecuting Authority requesting that a charge of crimen injuria be added to the charge sheet. Khulumani is making this call on the NPA because of its experience that too many South Africans have not yet fully comprehended how these kinds of actions damage the dignity of individuals and cause deep pain and hurt to relatives of those who disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

 

Significantly, the London-based organisation, REDRESS, that coordinates the Victims Rights Working Group at the International Criminal Court, today published the outcomes of its consultative work on the rights of victims of gross human rights violations. The report is called Justice for Victims: The ICC's Reparations Mandate.

The report supports the position of Khulumani Support Group that has consistently advocated for deadlines to be extended as necessary to include all victims who suffered gross human rights violations.  Furthermore, the report highlights the importance of establishing dedicated strategies to notify victims and it calls for targeted outreach to victims to be conducted.

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