news analysis advocacy
AfricaFocus Bookshop
New Gift CDs
China & Africa
tips on searching

Search AfricaFocus and 9 Partner Sites

 

 

Visit the AfricaFocus
Country Pages

Algeria
Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central Afr. Rep.
Chad
Comoros
Congo (Brazzaville)
Congo (Kinshasa)
Côte d'Ivoire
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Rwanda
São Tomé
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Western Sahara
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!

Print this page

This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

South Africa: TRC and Gender
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
However, we hope they may still provide leads for your research.
South Africa: TRC and Gender
Date distributed (ymd): 960823

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION STATEMENT

August 15, 1996

Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission

For immediate release:

JOHANNESBURG -- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
today approved a proposal that special hearings dedicated to
women's testimony should be arranged in different parts of
South Africa.

A full meeting of the Commission, held in Johannesburg, also
resolved that "women need to be encouraged to speak out"
about human rights violations which they have suffered.
"There is a need to break the silence," the Commission said.
"There is a lot of evidence of abuse of women in a political
context, but this is in the private domain."

The Commission also noted that the presence of male
Commissioners on TRC hearings panels may inhibit women in
their testimony, and suggested that the composition of
panels be negotiated with witnesses.

The full text of a report on the "TRC and Gender", as
adopted by the Commission, follows:

"The mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is
to establish as complete a picture as possible of the cases,
nature and extent of the gross violations of human rights
which were committed during the period March 1960 and
December 1993.  The antecedents, circumstances, factors and
the contexts of such violations, as well as the motives of
such violations, as well as the perspectives of the persons
responsible for committing such violations should be
established.

"The Commission, in response to a submission by Beth
Goldblatt and Dr Sheila Meinjies, tasked Commissioners
Yasmin Sooka and Glenda Wildschut to advise the Commission
on how to respond to the submission.

"The submission was prepared following a workshop on Gender
and the Truth Commission.  A detailed analysis of women's
experience of repression over the 33 years of the mandate of
the Commission informed the very solid recommendations in
the report.

"The report also draws attention to the issues of amnesty,
reparations and gender-specific violence perpetrated by
members of the security and liberation forces.

"TRC RESPONSE TO THE GENDER SUBMISSION:

"The TRC's response to the submission was very favourable.
That violence against women and the specific sensitive
nature of the types of violations against women warrants
close attention by the TRC was accepted without question.

"The sub-group mandated by the Commission planned a workshop
with a much broader representation of women to thoroughly
discuss and debate how human rights abuse of women, in
particular, needs to be dealt with by the TRC.

"The 40th anniversary of the march to the Union Buildings
and National Women's Day seemed an appropriate time to host
the workshop.  The aim and objective of the workshop was to
consult as broadly a possible the feasibility of the women's
hearing and how that hearing should be conducted.

"142 individuals and organisations were invited to the
workshop.  Those organisations and individuals who could not
attend were asked to make written comments on the questions
posed by the workshop.  In this way we were able to illicit
as diverse opinions as possible.

"This report will not go into detail of the workshop, but
would rather highlight the recommendations which came out of
the workshop.

"RECOMMENDATIONS: (Accepted by the Commission on August 15):

-- Women will need a special hearing.  Each region should
hold at least one hearing dedicated to women.

-- The TRC should be sensitive to the cultural norms in
specific communities to gender issues.

-- Women need to be encouraged to speak out, there is a need
to break the silence.  There is a lot of evidence of abuse
of women in a political context, but this is in the private
domain.

-- The TRC needs to act as a facilitator to empower women to
tell their stories.

Some useful suggestions are:
--- some women can tell stories on behalf of others.
--- groups of women could come together and tell their
stories as a collective
--- hearings can be held in camera.

-- The presence of men on the panels may paralyse some
women, therefore the composition of the panel should be
negotiated with the testifiers.

-- Commissioners should receive training on gender-related
issues.

-- Preparatory workshops, especially for rural women, should
be held especially about how to deal with the media.

-- Church women's groups should be engaged to assist women
to tell their stories.

-- Women as perpetrators also need attention.

-- Reparations policy should not be gender blind."

ends/

Truth and Reconciliation Commission
PO Box 3162
Cape Town 8000
South Africa
Tel: +27-21-24-5161
Fax: +27-21-24-5225
E-mail: trc.comments@pop.onwe.co.za
WWW: http://www.truth.org.za/

************************************************************
The complete text of the recent submissions made to the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the African National
Congress and the National Party are available on the World
Wide Web at each party's Web site.

The African National Congress statement appears at:
http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/misc/trctoc.html

The National Party statement appears at:
http://www.natweb.co.za/press/truth.html

************************************************************
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by
the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational
affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary
objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States
around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by
concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups
and individuals.

************************************************************

URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs96/trc9608.php