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SAHRC mourns Mandela

The South African Human Rights Commission joins the rest of the world in expressing its immense sadness and sorrow, and pays tribute to the passing on of former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who was South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

President Jacob Zuma announced Madiba’s death on Thursday evening. Madiba passed on peacefully in his Houghton home following a long illness.

Just recently Mandela once again brought the world together as the globe celebrated his 95th birthday in July. Even though Madiba was, on his birthday, still recovering from the recurring lung infection in hospital, outside his life was celebrated as a symbol of unity.

To his end his words and deeds become increasingly relevant to the rest of us. His teachings will continue to guide generations to come and will forever remain in the hearts and minds of everyone, young and old, black and white, rich and poor.

As an ambassador for human rights, President Mandela set the tone for human rights in South Africa and abroad. During the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 21 September 1998, President Mandela told the 53rd General Assembly of the United Nations that the Declaration “held high the hope that all our societies would, in future, be built on the foundations of the glorious human rights vision spelt out in each of its clauses.”

During his term, Chapter 9 institutions such as the South African Human Right Commission were established to support constitutional democracy. The Commission celebrates Madiba, as SA’s foremost human rights activist, who asserted and inspired human rights not just in South Africa, but across the world.

As the Human Rights Commission we celebrate the life of this once aspirant and distinguished human rights activist, who selflessly, and until the end of his life, advocated for the culture of human rights in South Africa and the world. Many South Africans have realised their rights because of the selfless dedication of President Nelson Mandela.

Many South Africans attribute the right to freedom we enjoy today to him and his generation of women and men who fought for and asserted our right to dignity.

It was for this reason that the SA Human Rights Commission saw it fitting to confer its inaugural Duma Nokwe Human Rights Award to Madiba on the 10th of December 2001, to appreciate the role he played to advance human rights in the country and in the world.

To Madiba’s family, friends, the SAHRC wish you strength and courage to help you go through this difficult and challenging moment of your lives. Thank you for sharing Tata with the people of South Africa and the world.

The Commission will continue to advance the realisation of human rights for all.


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Since its establishment, the SAHRC has dedicated itself to:
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