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Remembering the Liberation of Auschwitz

How will we remember the crime against humanity called "apartheid" 60 years after our own country was liberated and democratised? How will we remember the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the apartheid regime - including murder, torture, rape, kidnapping and abduction, detention without trial, and forced removals, amongst others?

1. Khulumani Support Group recognises the importance of occasions such as the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Poland, and supports the statements made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and others, that the particularly inhumane crimes committed there should not be forgotten and must never be repeated.

2. How will we remember the crime against humanity called "apartheid" 60 years after our own country was liberated and democratised? How will we remember the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the apartheid regime - including murder, torture, rape, kidnapping and abduction, detention without trial, and forced removals, amongst others?

3. Ten years later we are still looking for many answers:

a. we are still trying to locate the remains of some of our children, abducted and burnt to death by the so-called "security" forces: where are they?

b. we are still trying to rebuild our lives out of the apartheid-ravaged and poverty-stricken homelands where we were abandoned to fend for ourselves without equitable access to the resources of the country of our birth: when will a better life start?\

c. we are still living with many illiterate and innumerate older people who were not provided with an adequate education, and who are now re-victimised as consumerism and younger generations take advantage of their ignorance and often trusting natures: who will protect them?

d. we are still wondering how our pain, suffering and loss was given a symbolic monetary value of a once-off R30,000.00 "reparations" payment when the TRC recommendations for reparations were vastly different. The TRC also said that for reconciliation to take place, both reparations and rehabilitation were needed: has our "rehabilitation" dropped off the agenda?

e. we are still calling on business to face up to their role in aiding and abetting the apartheid regime, and directly and indirectly profiting from torture and other gross human rights abuses of many of our people. We note that business has in effect been granted a "blanket amnesty" by not participating in the TRC, and because the TRC recommendations in terms of business were not implemented: when will those businesses that profited from apartheid make amends?

4. It is time to answer these questions and to act on them, so that in 2054, our children, their children, and their children's children will not only remember our suffering and say "never again" but will no longer themselves be dealing with the consequences of apartheid.

5. Although the Khulumani International Lawsuit was dismissed and is now being appealed in New York, we don't need a foreign court to tell us what we lived through and how apartheid damaged our lives. We only need a foreign court to force those businesses who knowingly propped up the apartheid regime and profited from collaborating with it, to compensate those particular victims of apartheid who suffered gross human rights abuses at the hands of the apartheid government.

6. It's time to "Say Yes to Redress!" and to rehabilitation. We call on all those businesses who profited from apartheid and the sequelae of apartheid to voluntarily contribute towards redress and the rehabilitation of our members.

7. We call on all members of the public who wish to show their support for this cause to send decorated or plain safety pins to the Khulumani office. The safety pins will be combined into a large scale artwork to be unveiled at a ceremony in Cape Town on 16 December 2005. Further details are available from our office, or by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

8. We urge all members of the public who would like to become Associate Members of Khulumani Support Group, to sign up via our website: www.khulumani.net .

9. As with the survivors of Auschwitz sixty years ago, in fifty years time, many of the survivors of apartheid will no longer be alive. Let's make sure today, that what is remembered and celebrated then is not only the liberation of our country, but also the rehabilitation of the survivors of apartheid.

Issued by: Marjorie Jobson, Chairperson: Khulumani Support Group

On behalf of The Khulumani International Lawsuit Campaign

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