This article focuses on how Brazil dealt with and failed to deal with its authoritarian past, and what lessons this experience may hold for South Africa. The central focus is on victim support groups in both countries and examines their primary concerns: their need for the truth and their demands for justice. The experiences of Brazil in these areas are examined, with references to equivalent experiences in Argentina and Chile, and lessons for South Africa are extracted. Finally the link between past human rights violations, impunity and rising crime is discussed.
Brandon Hamber is a former CSVR Programme Manager. He holds a PhD Psychology from The University of Ulster and BA (Hons) MA (Clin. Psych) Ph.D. Clinical Psychology from The University of the Witwatersrand.