In This Review

Unequal Protection: The State Response to Violent Crime on South African Farms
Unequal Protection: The State Response to Violent Crime on South African Farms
By Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch, 2001, 242 pp
Scared at School: Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools
Scared at School: Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools
By Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch, 2001, 138 pp

These studies by Human Rights Watch focus on the serious weaknesses of South Africa's criminal justice system in the face of entrenched forms of racial and gender bias carried over from the apartheid past. The first report compares the system's responses to violent crime by blacks against white farm owners and by whites against black farm workers. Despite promotion of black police officers and legal reforms aimed at providing equal protection, traditional attitudes and practices still ensure that whites have much better access to justice than do blacks; poor, black women are served least of all by the system. The second report highlights the chronic problem of sexual violence and harassment of girls in South African schools, spelling out how tolerance for these abuses prevents girls from realizing their right to education and to equal protection of the law. Although recognizing South Africa's progress over the last decade, Human Rights Watch concludes by calling for greater emphasis on law enforcement, both to bring redress for victims and to expunge discriminatory attitudes and practices.