Friday, February 21, 2003

Backing for International Apartheid Reparations Grows


Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign

Media Statement

Embargo: 07h00 (South Africa); 00h00 EST (USA); 05h00 GMT

Friday, 21 February 2003

Backing for International Apartheid Reparations Grows

Jubilee South Africa welcomes the filing of a further major apartheid reparations complaint against international corporations and banks that aided and abetted the apartheid state, in the New York Eastern District Court today.

Despite growing international popular opinion that the multinational banks and businesses that propped up and profited from apartheid abuses should acknowledge their complicity and take measures to repair the damage their actions made possible, the corporations have refused to take responsibility for their actions.

The campaign is now being backed up by concerned and highly respected members of the legal fraternity. Finkelstein, Thompson and Lougrhan, the American legal firm filing today’s complaint, have a long and distinguished history in class action litigation.

The complaint names seven banks, and thirteen international corporations from Germany, Switzerland, Britain, the United States, the Netherlands and France.

Instead of threatening undue economic and political pressure on South Africa to stop the call for apartheid reparations, the corporations and the governments of their home countries should respect the right of citizens to legal recourse, as has the South African government.

The relevant European and American governments should support the South African government in its position regarding the lawsuits, acknowledging that the rule of international human rights law must be upheld. We have always indicated that several legal suits would be filed by various groups of victims and lawyers. In today’s complaint and those that preceded it, South Africans express their commitment to the future of apartheid’s victims, to the protection of human rights, and to the rule of law.

For comment please contact:

South Africa: Neville Gabriel, Spokesperson: Apartheid Debt & Reparations Campaign, cell. +27 83 449 3934 Charles Abrahams, Lawyer: Jubilee SA, cell. +27 82 560 7152

Germany: Theo Kniefel, German Campaign for Apartheid-Caused Debt Cancellation & Reparations, tel. +49 (6221) 785545 Gottfried Wellmer +49 (228) 694792 Anne Jung +49 69 944 3827

Switzerland:    Mascha Madoerin, Swiss Camapign for Apartheid-Caused Debt Cancellation & Reparations, tel. +41 61 693 1700 Joe Elsener, Swiss Campaign for Apartheid-Caused Debt Cancellation & Reparations, tel. +41 41 375 7223

USA: Bill Fletcher, Director: TransAfrica, tel. +1 202 223 1960

American Lawyers:    Douglas Thompson, Jr., Finkelstein, Thompson, Loughran, tel. +1 202 337-8000 Michael Hausfeld, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll PLLC, tel. +1 202 408 4600

Note to editors:

The full text of the filed complaint will be available on the website http://www.ftllaw.com.

Attached are the following documents (available here in on PDF, 13 pages):

  • Summary of Plaintiffs
  • Summary of Defendants
  • Legal basis for the complaint
  • Briefing on the Apartheid and Reparations Campaign
  • Declaration of the International Apartheid-Caused Debt Cancellation and Reparations Campaign
To download all the documents on the second apartheid reparations complaint against international corporations and banks that aided and abetted the apartheid state, filed in the New York Eastern District Court on 21 February 2003 (available here in on PDF, 13 pages)