Practice Related to Rule 95. Forced Labour
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides that the “compelling of civilians to perform prohibited labour” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols.
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) provides that “[c]ompelling civilians to perform prohibited labour” is a grave breach of the law of armed conflict and a war crime.
South Africa’s Constitution (1996), as amended to 2003, states:
13. Slavery, servitude and forced labour.
- No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.
37. States of emergency.
(1) A state of emergency may be declared only in terms of an Act of Parliament and only when –
(a) the life of the nation is threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural disaster or other public emergency; …
(5) No Act of Parliament that authorises a declaration of a state of emergency, and no legislation enacted or other action taken in consequence of a declaration may permit or authorise –
(c) any derogation from a section mentioned in column 1 of the Table of Non-Derogable Rights, to the extent indicated opposite that section in column 3 of the Table.
In the “Table of Non-Derogable Rights”, the Constitution includes section 13, entitled “Slavery, servitude and forced labour”, and states that the right is protected “[w]ith respect to slavery and servitude”. Forced labour is not mentioned.