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Thulani Maseko honoured

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MBABANE – Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko has been honoured by the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights.

Maseko received the Vera Chirwa Award last week. The award was presented during a ceremony held in Pretoria, South Africa on December 9, 2011, where Maseko was a student.

It was to honour him for the role he and other local lawyers have played in the fight for human rights in Swaziland.

When receiving the award, Maseko said it was an excellent opportunity to revive their commitment to the struggle for the achievement of common standards for all peoples regardless of national borders and jurisdiction. "On my own behalf and on behalf of Lawyers for Human Rights (Swaziland), it is my humble honour and privilege to stand here today to receive the Vera Chirwa Award. I do so with a great deal of humility, appreciating the sacrifices that Ms. Chirwa endured in pursuit of the promotion and protection of human rights and dignity for all. When we made an appearance, Vera Chirwa was still a Commissioner. She contributed to the decision which found Swaziland to be in violation of the ACHPR. She is an icon indeed," Maseko said. He said as lawyers, they were mindful of the task ahead. He added that the award was not only recognition for the efforts they put in fighting for human rights in Swaziland, but it was in essence an indictment to do more.


"Those on whose footsteps we follow have raised the bar of dedication and commitment to achieving democracy, the Rule of Just Law and the pursuit of the protection and promotion of human rights rather too high. Such pace-setters obviously include the likes of Ms. Chirwa, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Bram Fischer, Arthur Chaskalson, Pius Langa George Bizos and many others. These are all models to follow," he said. He continued, "We have to pursue these ideals until the end of our days. In the words of the Reverend Martin Luther Jr., one has to believe in something, believe in it until the end of the days. Not only that, we have to be a reflection of the change we want to see in the world. So, I do believe that the dignity and humanity of the people of Swaziland, across Africa and the world can only be restored with the full enjoyment of all human rights, fundamental freedoms and civil liberties without distinction. We have to stand up for ‘Dignity and Justice for All’. Africa must rise up from the darkness of repression and walk forthrightly to the bright sunshine of human rights." Titus Mlangeni, the Chairman of the Law Society of Swaziland congratulated his colleague.

He said they had not received a formal report on the award as a body but it was a great achievement for Maseko because he was rewarded for all the contribution he made. "I am very happy for him in my personal capacity," he said.

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