Human rights attorney discusses roots of apartheid

By December 28, 2022

South Africa (MNN) — Apartheid, South Africa’s institutionalized racial segregation, lasted from 1948-1994. The word means “apartness” because black populations were forced to live separately from white populations.

Apartheid has become recognized as a crime under international law. Most instances involve racial apartheid, though human rights groups have recognized cultural and gender apartheid as well. An example of the latter would be Afghanistan’s separation of men and women.

Apartheid is a relatively new crime under international law.

Apartheid explained

Jonathan Kuttab of Bethlehem Bible College is an international human rights attorney. He says, “Another part of the system of apartheid is the use of law and legal mechanisms. This isn’t just discrimination and racism. This is written in the laws, and you can read the laws and realize that by law, the system is being applied. The system must also be used to create domination and preserve domination by one group over another.”

Kuttab says the situation for every country will look different, but it will always involve the elements listed above. “A lot of the conversation goes on says, “Is this like South Africa? Or isn’t it? How different is it? How do we compare it? This is not a very useful approach because every country is different. Desmond Tutu, for example, says comparisons to apartheid are unfair to South Africa.”

How to pray

Pray the love of Jesus will break down injustice and the barriers between people groups worldwide. Kuttab says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him, whether they are Jew, or Gentile, male or female, black, white, whatever, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”



The header photo shows an apartheid sign in South Africa in 1989. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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