FLAC and FIDH statement on death of Nelson Mandela

6 December 2013

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is today joining with 177 other member organisations of the FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) world-wide to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and express their sincere condolences to his wife and children and to the entire nation of South Africa.

FIDH members recognise that Mandela was a man who tirelessly dedicated his life to fighting arbitrariness and injustice. He was imprisoned for 27 years for his resolute fight against racism and segregation and was a symbol of courage and self-sacrifice in the face of oppressive regimes. His isolation allowed those upholding apartheid to preserve a political system entirely built upon violence, racial discrimination and inequalities; his liberation marked the inevitable dismantling of this system.

According to FIDH, today South Africa remains characterised by challenges of equality, social justice and security. It remains ssential to draw inspiration from the immeasurable political, intellectual and ideological legacy of this pioneer of modern revolutions. His outstanding contribution to the promotion of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world will remain in everyone's memories.

According to Paris based FIDH President Karim Lahidji "Nelson Mandela was the true embodiment of the legitimate and universal fight against oppression, discrimination, racism, colonialism, poverty, conflicts. He will forever remain an extraordinary inspiration for all those who defend democratic principles and universality of human rights,"

African members of the board of the FIDH had the following to say:

"Mandela symbolised ubuntu and the strength of principles, in the face of oppression. His courage and determination showed us how, in the face of injustice, we should never give up the struggle for truth, fairness and justice. He transformed his society and indeed the world, by living his values" says Alice Mogwe, Botswana.

"South Africa under apartheid wanted to establish differences in law, the South Africa under Mandela has tirelessly tried to draw its strength from differences. This man of peace, who dedicated his restored freedom to found a democratic and multi-racial South African society, never showed hatred or resentment," declared Sheila Muwanga Nabachwa, Uganda.

"Nelson Mandela's struggle against social and economic inequalities, for women's rights, children's rights, and against the stigmatisation of people living with HIV-AIDS, has made of him one of the best ambassadors of the voiceless," declared Paul Nsapu(DRC).

In Dublin, FLAC's Noeline Blackwell said that FLAC would recognise and celebrate a great life by remaining committed to the principles of human rights and dignity so bravely and resolutely expressed by Mandela during his lifetime.