Palestinian BNC Mourns Loss of Anti-Apartheid Icon Ahmed Kathrada

March 28, 2017, Occupied Palestine —The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has heard with great sadness the news of Comrade Ahmed Kathrada’s passing. Mr. Kathrada, born to an Indian Muslim family, was the most prominent Asian South African in the movement to end apartheid, the system of racial discrimination, segregation and white dominance that existed in South Africa until it was defeated in 1994.

Comrade Kathrada was also an active and consistent supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. He visited Palestine, and saw the apartheid system we endure for himself. He said when in Palestine: "In our short stay here we have seen and heard enough to conclude that Apartheid has been reborn here. In its reborn form it is however worse than its predecessor. Even during the worst days of Apartheid we did not have walls to divide and control people, we also did not have separate roads for separate races, and we did not have the system of checkpoints that exist here."

The Foundation which bears his name engages in activities in support of Israeli Apartheid Week, which aims to raise awareness of Israel's apartheid policies towards Palestinians. It also supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, believing that this is the way to bring an end to Israel's apartheid policies and violations of international law. 

Kathrada’s own long imprisonment — 26 years and 3 months — alongside the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and his lifelong struggle against apartheid and injustice are an example to all Palestinians that integrity and perseverance will lead to justice and freedom.

The BDS movement is working to increase international civil society and government support for the Palestinian struggle for justice. We were honored to count Comrade Kathrada as a supporter of our struggle and remain inspired by his life.

We send out our condolences to his family, friends, comrades and all South Africans during these difficult days.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

In the News

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) statement on BDS movement

Read the full statement here: http://alhaq.ps/publications/papers/Phroc-BDS-8-2-2016.pdf

Summary:

For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid. Human rights violations rising to the level of international crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, forced transfer, and other forms of collective punishment have become the norm.

Read the full statement here: http://alhaq.ps/publications/papers/Phroc-BDS-8-2-2016.pdf

Summary:

For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid. Human rights violations rising to the level of international crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, forced transfer, and other forms of collective punishment have become the norm. Rather than uphold their responsibilities under international law and take measures to hold Israel accountable, third states have largely turned a blind eye.

Although world governments and international and regional bodies, like the United Nations and the European Union, still lack the political will to hold Israel accountable, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has grown to provide an important nonviolent counter-narrative and alternative for achieving the enjoyment and exercise of freedom, dignity, and justice for Palestinians.

The 2005 BDS call, issued by Palestinian civil society, and the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which leads the global movement, both affirm that BDS is inclusive, rejects all forms of racism and discrimination, and does not target any person or entity based on their respective identity. Rather, the movement targets Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Corporations and institutions that aid, abet, or profit from Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights also fall within the purview of the movement.

As the impact of BDS grows, so too do efforts by Israel, its lobby groups, and supporters to vilify, smear, and attempt to criminalize the movement. Many attempt to falsely associate the nonviolent movement with discrimination or anti-Semitism; such claims are not only baseless, but also unjustly trample on the rights to freedom of expression and protest, amongst others.

Accordingly, it has become imperative for the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) to reiterate the universality of these human rights. PHROC affirms the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities.


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