A special study group set up by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights heard allegations of torture made against the government of South Africa.
GV: Committee seated round table.
CU: Mr. K. Naidoo speaking in English
SCU: Committee members listening.
CU: Naidoo continuing speech.
NAIDOO: "The law actually provides that the detainee can be detained for purposes of interrogation until he has given the information that is required to the satisfaction of the security police. That not only means indefinite detention, it also means indefinite interrogation, if I may use that word within quotes He has no access to any private medical practitioner, he is only given access to the district surgeon, at the discretion of the security police, if they are satisfied that there is something the matter with him. He is not allowed to received any visits, either from his family or next of kin. And what is most important, the fact of his detention and the place of his detention, need not be disclosed at all. Victims have spoken of being taken to these remote places, far removed from habitable society. They've spoken of finding such places surrounded by soldiers or policemen, and of finding in such other detainees when they were taken there. And they've spoken of the torture that was applied to them there. It is very difficult to infer that the particular individual who took the detainee there and tortured him was alone responsible, when such facilities are there. Then they have spoken of the instruments of torture used. From one end of the country to the other, victims have spoken about electric-shock machines. Again it is very difficult to infer that the individual policeman was a delinquent, out of his own pocket paid for such instruments of torture, and in his own time acquired the knowledge of how to operate it, and was individually motivated to do so."
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Background: A special study group set up by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights heard allegations of torture made against the government of South Africa. The special group set up to look into human rights issues in southern Africa reconvened in Geneva between the 21st and 25th of May to examine its new mandate and decide on its future work. Since its creation in 1967, it has completed a number of studies on the politics of South Africa, Namibia, and zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and the violations of human rights in those countries. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has now given the study group the go-ahead to enquire -- in collaboration with the Special Committee against Apartheid -- into the case of torture of detainees in South Africa. The study group is expected to report in February next year (1980). Among the first witnesses was mr. Naidoo from the Special Committee against Apartheid.
SYNOPSIS: The delegates heard Mr. Naidoo describe the circumstances detainees find themselves in.