Prof. Kader Asmal, founding father of the Convention, passes away

© Damaris Helwig

Professor Kader Asmal, renowned South African politician and founding father of the Convention passed away on 22 June 2011, aged 76.

Besides his role in the anti-apartheid struggle and pro-human rights endeavors in South Africa, the ANC veteran and human rights lawyer notably served his country as Minister for water affairs, bringing clean water to the poor and the rural people of his country. He then became Minister for Education and professor of human rights at the University of Western Cape.

He contributed greatly in the design and first stages of the Convention, as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts in charge of elaborating the draft of the Convention as well as Chairperson of the first Conference of Parties (2007).

In an article written by Professor Asmal about the new generations who will be taking forward the values and principles embedded in the Convention, he quoted playwright and author Ben Okri:

      “They are only the exhausted
        Who think that they have arrived
        At their final destination
        The end of the road
        With all their dreams achieved and no new dreams to hold.”

Professor Asmal’s humanness of spirit contributed to reaching a wide consensus among governmental and non-governmental actors from around the world who were involved not only in the drafting process, but also in the adoption and entry into force of the Convention. This is a partnership that remains a unique and important feature of the 2005 Convention today.

His vision continues to guide all those around the world who had the privilege of working with him.

Professor Asmal is survived by his wife, Louise, and their two sons and two grandchildren.

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