Newsletter 01/09

Le message de Nelson Mandela adressé le 20 janvier 2009 au Président Obama

" We believe that we are witnessing something truly historic not only in the political annals of your great nation, the United States of America, but of the world. Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done. Amidst all of the human progress made over the last century the world in which we live remains one of great divisions, conflict, inequality, poverty and injustice. Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place. "

" We are in some ways reminded today of the excitement and enthusiasm in our own country at the time of our transition to democracy. People, not only in our country but around the world, were inspired to believe that through common human effort injustice can be overcome and that together a better life for all can be achieved. "

" Your Presidency brings hope of new beginnings in the relations between nations, that the challenges we all face, be they economic, the environment, or in combating poverty or the search for peace, will be addressed with a new spirit of openness and accommodation. "

Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman décédée le 1er janvier 2009, à 91 ans, est l'une des grandes figures de l'opposition aux gouvernements de l'apartheid.

Parlementaire, durant trente six ans (1953-1989), minoritaire redoutée pour sa détermination, elle se mobilisa sans relâche en faveur de la défense des libertés et contribua activement aux changements qui conduiront à la tenue des premières élections au suffrage universel en 1994 et à l'introduction d'une constitution démocratique.

Helen Suzman usa de toutes ses prérogatives de députée pour visiter en personne le pénitencier de Robben Island où était notamment détenu Neslon Mandela et réussit à y introduire un véritable contrôle des conditions de vie des prisonniers politiques.

Elle fut présente aux côtés du président Nelson Mandela en 1996 lors de la signature du texte de la constitution définitive de la nouvelle Afrique du Sud dont le Bill of Rights consacrait les droits fondamentaux pour lesquels elle avait combattu pendant quatre décennies au sein du parlement et auprès des organisations civiques.

Dans son ouvrage, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela rend hommage à son action décisive et évoque la première visite qu'elle fit à Robben Island au début de l'année 1967, en ces termes :

" It was an odd and wonderful sight to see this courageous woman peering into our cells and strolling around our courtyard. She was the first and only woman ever to grace our cells. "

Les missions du Legal Resources Centre d'Afrique du Sud

Depuis 30 ans, (1979-2009) le Legal Resources Centre joue un rôle éminent en Afrique du Sud pour promouvoir les droits fondamentaux.

Ses missions sont fondées sur les principes suivants :

1. To strive, both for itself and in its work, for a fully democratic society based on the principle of substantive equality and to ensure that the principles, rights, and responsibilities enshrined in our national Constitution are respected, promoted, protected and fulfilled.

2. To function as an independent, clientbased, non-profit public interest law clinic which uses law as an instrument of justice and provide legal services for the vulnerable and marginalised, including the poor, homeless, and landless people and communities of South Africa who suffer discrimination by reason of race, class, gender, disability or by reason of social, economic, and historical circumstances.

3. To work for a fully democratic society and to build respect for the rule of law and constitutional democracy; enable the vulnerable and marginalised to assert and develop their rights; promote gender and racial equality and oppose all forms of unfair discrimination; and contribute to the development of a human rights jurisprudence and to the social and economic transformation of society.

4. The LRC seeks creative and effective solutions by using a range of strategies, including impact litigation, law reform, participation in partnerships and development processes, education and networking within South Africa, the African continent and at the international level.

Yves Laurin