The crime of Apartheid refers to inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one group of persons over another, and systematically oppressing them.
Facts and Figures
- In 1973, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which presented a detailed description of what constitutes Apartheid. Among the convention’s list of inhuman acts that fall under the ambit of apartheid are the following
- Denial to members of a racial group the right to life and liberty of person; inflicting upon them serious bodily or mental harm by infringing freedom or dignity or subjecting them to torture or inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment
- Legislation and other discriminatory measures calculated to prevent racial groups from the participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country including the right to leave or return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence etc.
- Legislation and other measures designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups
- Legislation and other measures aimed at the expropriation of land belonging to a racial group
- (Dr David Keane of Middlesex University has explained that the meaning of ‘racial group’ in the above definitions is a broad and practical one. “If a group identifies itself as such, and is identified as such by others, for example through discriminatory practices, then it comes under the protection of the convention..Ultimately, who is or is not a racial group under international law is not a scientific question, but a practical one”)
- Describing Israel as an Apartheid State ‘does not mean completely equating Israel with South Africa’. Any comparison should highlight both ‘corresponding developments’ as well as ‘obviously different circumstances’.
- Apartheid constitutes a lot more than ‘petty apartheid’ as was expressed by public areas being ‘whites-only’ or ‘blacks-only’ in South Africa. Architect Lindsay Bremner has observed that, beyond ‘petty apartheid’, in South Africa, the dispensation also involved “countless instruments of control and humiliation (racially discriminatory laws, administration boards, commissions of inquiry, town planning schemes, health regulations, pass books, spot fines, location permits, police raids, removal vans, bulldozers) … that delineated South African society during the apartheid years and produced its characteristic landscapes.” The same is true about the nature of Apartheid in Israel.
- Apartheid in Israel in manifested differently depending on the territory under question:
- Illegally Occupied Palestinian territories:
- In Israel:
Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel has a dynamic database of more than 50 Israeli laws enacted since 1948 that directly or indirectly discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 Occupied Territories and Palestinian refugees. Since the establishment of the state, Israel has relied upon these laws to ground their discriminatory treatment of Arab citizens and allow the unequal status and unequal treatment of Jewish and Arab citizens to persist.