Human rights and health care under apartheid in South Africa were studied. Human rights violations, such as detention without charge or trial, assault and torture in police custody, and restriction orders, have had devastating effects on the health of persons experiencing them. These violations have occurred in the context of a deliberate policy of discriminatory health care favoring the white minority over the black majority. South Africa's medical societies have had mixed responses to the health problems raised by human rights violations and inequities in the health care system. The amelioration of health care for all and prevention of human rights violations depend on ending apartheid and discrimination and greater government attention to these problems.