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US critical of S. African rights record

Assessing human rights in South Africa in 1982, the United States State Department says the chief development was the ''continued erosion of the rule of law and its replacement by administrative fiat.''

The State Department says that the South African government's growing use of administrative authority means ''the public now has no effective judicial remedy against the denationalization of Africans, forced resettlement, and indefinite detention without charge.''

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The report also points to two positive steps in South Africa: a move to give Coloreds (persons of mixed-race descent) and Indians a greater role in government (blacks would continue to be excluded) and ''peripheral'' improvements in security practices.

But the report also cites a ''vicious cycle of violence'' developing in southern Africa, due mainly to the conflict between Pretoria and groups such as the African National Congress that seek to end apartheid. As the ANC steps up its attacks, the government is stepping up efforts to ''eliminate opposition.'' Through the years, the report says, the government has enacted laws in the name of security that ''curtail the civil liberties'' of persons it views as seriously challenging the established order. ''Apartheid remains the governing reality of life in South Africa,'' it says.

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