Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

International Law Obligations to Provide Reparations for Human Rights Abuses

Buti, Antonio and Parke, M. (1999) International Law Obligations to Provide Reparations for Human Rights Abuses. eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, 6 (4). p. 41.

Free to read:
*No subscription required


World history contains countless records of atrocities committed by humans against humans. Examples this century include the holocaust of World War II, repression and torture under Pinochet's Chile, Argentina's 'dirty war', the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families in Australia and widespread and systematic persecution under the South African apartheid regime. The nations responsible have by various processes and procedures sought to respond to these human rights abuses in order to move on from their pasts. This article examines in detail the responses made by Australia and South Africa to human rights abuses emanating from the removal policies and apartheid policies respectively.

The response by the Australian government involved a National Inquiry, while the South African government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These mechanisms operated within the international law of reparations framework for victims of human rights abuses. In accordance with this law, reparation includes all types of redress - restitution, compensation, rehabilitation and, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition and consists of material and non-material redress.

This article commences with a discussion on the obligations on States under international law to provide reparations for human rights abuses. A brief overview follows, on the responses by other nations this century to dealing with their history of human rights abuses, namely Germany, Chile and Argentina. We then turn to examine in some detail the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's recommendations arising from the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families ("the National Inquiry") and the findings of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission ("the Commission").

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: School of Law, Murdoch University
Copyright: The Authors
Publisher's Website:
Item Control Page Item Control Page