BNC Statement

The BDS movement mourns the passing of ANC leader Yasmin "Jessie" Duarte

The Palestinian BDS National Committee honours the life of the tireless South African anti-apartheid and human rights campaigner, who passed away yesterday, July 17, 2022.

The BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the Palestinian anti-apartheid movement for freedom, justice and equality, extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Yasmin “Jessie” Duarte and to the people of South Africa. 

We have learned with sadness of the passing away of this powerful, principled and tireless fighter against apartheid, racism and oppression. Comrade Jessie fought apartheid in South Africa and witnessed the end of this inhumane regime. As a true internationalist, she was a stalwart of solidarity with the Palestinian people for her entire life and held up the principle of the South African leader Nelson Mandela, with whom she shared a history of struggle, that South Africans will truly be free once Palestinians are free too.

We fondly remember how Jessie Duarte was among the courageous leaders who have endorsed the Global South Response (GSR) to Palestinian civil society’s appeal for designating Israel as an apartheid state and supporting lawful sanctions to help dismantle that regime. The GSR, launched in July 2020, is supported by political leaders and former presidents from across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In her message to the UN General Assembly in September 2020, Comrade Jessie poignantly brought out the shared experience of South Africans in the past and Palestinians today living under apartheid, and called on the UN “to pass a resolution that will investigate Israel’s apartheid and that you impose lawful, targeted sanctions to end it.” Today, this demand is shared by human rights bodies and organizations across the globe. 

As Palestinians we know that when the soul of a fighter comes to rest, it is the responsibility of all of us to continue the path. May her legacy inspire us as we continue the struggle to make apartheid history. 

May Jessie rest in power.



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