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On-line version ISSN 2411-7870
Print version ISSN 1021-545X


NAIDOO, Kamban. The origins of hate-crime laws. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2016, vol.22, n.1, pp.53-66. ISSN 2411-7870.

Hate crimes were first recognised as a specific category of criminal conduct in the United States of America. Evidence of such recognition is supported by a number of state level and federal hate-crime laws that were enacted in the United States between the early 1980s and 1990s. There is a tendency in some American literature, however, to trace the recognition of hate crime as a specific category of criminal conduct to two specific historical time periods. The first historical period that is usually considered, is the nineteenth-century post-American Civil War period when federal civil-rights statutes were passed by the American Congress to protect vulnerable groups of people who were victimised because of their race and prior status as slaves. The second time period that is considered is the mid-twentieth century, post-Second World War era up to the period of the Civil-Rights Movement. Irrespective of the origins of hate crime as a category of criminal conduct, their recognition has spawned a new category of crime and criminal laws in the United States of America and internationally. Contemporary hate-crime laws recognise a wide spectrum of prejudices and biases. Despite the international trend, particularly in democratic Western nations towards the recognition of hate crimes and the enactment of hate-crime laws, the Republic of South Africa has yet to enact a hate-crime law.

Keywords : Hate crime; hate-crime laws; history; origins.

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