Commonwealth Lawyers Association: Death Of Nelson Mandela

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) is deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

The CLA recalls that, together with Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela established South Africa’s first black law firm which specialised in cases arising from the post-1948 apartheid legislation. 

His activism made him a target of the authorities - he was banned in 1956, arrested for treason in 1961 and arrested again and convicted of treason in 1963.

The CLA further recalls the important role that the Commonwealth played in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. As the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma has stated “South Africa’s return to the Commonwealth family - under Mr Mandela’s leadership in 1994 - was a moment of joy and vindication, and one which has greatly enriched our association.”

Mandela’s life was filled with purpose and he came to embody the fight for human rights, justice and equality for all. Whilst mourning his death, the CLA celebrates his achievements and recognises his enduring legacy particularly in fostering forgiveness and reconciliation amongst a people scarred by the crimes of apartheid.  The CLA is proud that Mandela was a member of our profession.

The best tribute to his life’s work is to dedicate ourselves to the ideals and principles which he fearlessly stood for and the CLA reaffirms its commitment to promoting and maintaining the fundamental values of human rights and the rule of law amongst the legal profession and all the people of the Commonwealth.

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