Thursday, August 12, 2004

Endorse the Khulumani lawsuit


Endorse the Khulumani lawsuit

On 11 November 2002, the Khulumani Support Group, an organisation of survivors of apartheid violence, instituted a lawsuit in the U S against 23 multinational corporations, for their role in human rights abuses committed in apartheid South Africa. The lawsuit is supported by Jubilee South Africa and a number of national and international organizations. Khulumani alleges that these corporations supplied financing, technology, transportation, oil and arms to the Apartheid government and in so doing, aided and abetted the Apartheid government to violate international law. With their support the apartheid government committed extra-judicial killing, torture, sexual assault, prolonged arbitrary detention, and crimes against humanity. Apartheid has been officially recognised as a crime against humanity by the United Nations

The Khulumani lawsuit provides a strong opportunity to develop and build upon a new global principle, which would be binding on nations, national leaders and multinational corporations. The principle is to hold corporations liable and to secure redress for universally recognised violations of customary international law.

The right of foreigners to institute lawsuits in the United States was upheld by the U S Supreme Court, on 29 June 2004, despite objections from corporations and the US, British, Swiss and other governments. This represents a victory for human rights globally.

But the victory is under threat because some governments, including our own, and some of the world’s largest multinationals are opposing the so-called “apartheid lawsuits”. The reasons advanced by our government for their opposition to the lawsuits, do not apply to the Khulumani lawsuit.

What are the facts of the Khulumani litigation?

The Khulumani lawsuit names as defendants foreign corporations that refused to participate in the TRC process and that failed to take responsibility for their involvement in the apartheid state’s security apparatuses.

The Khulumani lawsuit does not seek to undermine the sovereignty of democratic South Africa. It seeks rather to strengthen South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

The Khulumani lawsuit does not seek any action that is inconsistent with government’s approach to achieving its own long-term goals. It supports programmes of community reparation and rehabilitation. Please join us in making national judicial systems acknowledge the supremacy and universality of a rule of law, which obligates adherence to behaviour that respects basic human dignity.

For more information, you can contact:

Khulumani Support Group, c/o Marjorie Jobson or Tel: +27-82-268-0223

Jubilee South Africa, c/o Makoma Lekalakala or Tel: +27-11-403 7622

Abrahams Kiewitz Attorneys, c/o Charles Abrahams or Tel +27-21-934-4842

or visit the website ENDORSE THE KHULUMANI LAWSUIT by sending a message of support to or by cutting out this advertisement, signing it and faxing it to +27 (011) 339 4560.

I / we endorse the Khulumani litigation and request the South African government to clearly distinguish the Khulumani litigation from the other so-called “apartheid lawsuits” by either withdrawing their affidavit to the New York court or by writing to the judge to clarify that their affidavit does not apply to the Khulumani lawsuit.

Signed: ______________________________

Date: ________________________________

Organisation: _______________________________________________________________

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