“A crime against humanity…” This is the indictment the United Nations General Assembly issued against apartheid during a meeting in 1973 (Churchil, Hampton, and Simmonds 469). Apartheid, which at its core reeks of racial discrimination, originated in South Africa. At the time, South Africa was under the control of the National Party, a political organization dedicated to elevating Afrikaners, or descendants of the original Dutch settlers, to the highest echelon of South African society through the subjugation of people classified as “non-white,” (Lowe et al. 28 - 30). The National Party accomplished this goal primarily by depriving native groups of an education in addition to their judicial and land rights.
Among the most inhumane crimes committed by the Afrikaners was depriving indigenes of their land rights. These crimes began in 1913, when the National Party passed the Land Act, an infamous law that existed purely to separate native groups and whites (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). The separation enacted by this law was part of a policy called segregation, the predecessor to apartheid (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). Non-whites were literally separated into areas set aside for them (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”).
As the National Party’s goal was to oppress, the Land Act was naturally unfair. Though about three natives existed for each white person (“Census in South Africa”), the government allocated only 7.5% of South Africa’s land for native groups, and this land was poor and infertile (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). Additionally, natives could not own land outside of their preset areas; this created a huge issue for natives who possessed land in white-only areas as they had to either work on white farms or be evicted (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). Though the Native Trust and Land Act increased the land allocated by 2.5%, apartheid laws worsened the situation by tightening the government’s hold on land rights (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”).
Previously, native people could still live on white-only land if they worked on farms, but apartheid changed this (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). Native groups were split up into various ‘homelands’ based on a faulty racial classification system. (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). The Afrikaners’ reasons for enacting this land system are obvious. The National Party wanted to establish a “divide and rule” system in which the white minority could have power (“Land, Labour and Apartheid”). This policy also had the affect of suppressing rebellious ideas by preventing them from spreading. Though the deprivation of land rights was atrocious, the removal of judicial rights was even worse.
In most civilized countries, certain judicial rights such as protection from cruel punishment are regarded as God-given and innate. However in South Africa, the Afrikaner government routinely violated these rights. Among the most blatant violations was the denial of habeas corpus, a legal writ that precludes unjust arrest...