Humanitarianism and Human Rights in Global Anti-Apartheid

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This chapter examines two concepts that played a significant role in providing an ideological framework that was able to foster global solidarity with the aims and agendas of South African liberation movements. International solidarity against apartheid relied on the effective reconciliation of global and local issues; on the capacity of activists to imagine themselves as part of a global endeavour that was at the same time connected to local concerns and everyday experiences. This chapter argues that humanitarian ideals helped to shape a set of shared assumptions regarding racial equality and framed global responses to the development of apartheid around perceptions of ‘victimhood’ ‘crisis’ and universal needs. At the same time, global anti-apartheid was consolidated within supra-national organisations such as the UN and became a focus of the nascent discourse of human rights. Ultimately, global anti-apartheid was constructed in the minds of individual activists; concepts of humanitarian need and human rights were significant insofar as they prompted activists to imagine the ways in which they were implicated in the injustice of apartheid.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Global History of Anti-Apartheid
Subtitle of host publication'Forward to Freedom' in South Africa
EditorsAnna Konieczna, Robert Skinner
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030036522
ISBN (Print)9783030036515
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


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  • Introduction: Anti-Apartheid in Global History

    Skinner, R. & Konieczna, A., 1 Apr 2019, A Global History of Anti-Apartheid: 'Forward to Freedom' in South Africa. Skinner, R. & Konieczna, A. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 1-30 30 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

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