South Africa: Policing, human rights and the prospects for free and fair elections

Index Number: AFR 53/009/1994

This paper comprises the oral statement by AI to the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, delivered on 4 February 1994 in Geneva. In it AI warns that political killings and other human rights violations threaten the prospects for free and fair elections. AI considers that the present government bears the greatest burden of responsibility to ensure that those seeking to participate in the elections do not become victims of human rights violations. Some of this burden of responsibility falls also on the Transitional Executive Council and the Independent Electoral Commission. AI considers the proper functioning of the criminal justice system to be crucial to the restoration of lasting peace in many communities and is concerned by reports of violations by police units, such as the Internal Stability Unit, which are not accountable to local station commanders. AI emphasized to the Commission the urgency of the human rights situation in Bophuthatswana. The text of a letter from the Secretary General of AI to President de Klerk is appended.

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