Thursday, October 30, 2003
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
I have just returned to Northern Ireland from a very busy time visiting Amman in Jordan, then Italy. The first event focused on the issue of a "risk society" hosted by the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies. The report should be out soon, and I will post my paper shortly which was on fear. Thereafter, went to a workshop on the issue of reparations for gross violations of human rights in Italy, which is a fascinating and burgeoning subject. The project is part of the ICTJ's global study of reparations measures following transitions to democracy. The aim is to examine not just proposals in favor of reparations made by truth commissions and other bodies, but also reparations legislation, particularly its implementation over time. And...now after all that...I am back in Northern Ireland, where the peace process is in a whirl...not sure too laugh or cry...it really seems to be in a shambles today.
Friday, October 17, 2003
On 14 October 2003, in one of the most historic court judgments ever made in favour of indigenous peoples, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that an indigenous people had both communal land ownership and mineral rights over their territory. Laws which tried to dispossess them were 'racial discrimination'. The case concerned the 3,000 Richtersveld people who live in Northern Cape Province. They are from the Nama subgroup of Khoikhoi peoples, and have always lived in the area called Richtersveld until they were evicted in the 1950s to make way for a diamond mine, now owned by the South African government. Five years ago, the people took both the government and the mining company to court, claiming ownership rights over both 85,000 hectares of land and the minerals it contains. They lost the case but then appealed, and the appeal court ruled in their favour. But then the mining company itself appealed against the decision. The 14 October judgment, from the Constitutional Court, is final.