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Yasmin Sooka honoured for her outstanding commitment to human rights

Leading South African human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka has been honoured by the University of Johannesburg with an Ellen Kuzwayo Award in recognition of her sustained commitment to human rights.

The Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and a trustee of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, Ms Sooka is regarded as a leading human rights lawyer, activist and an international expert in the field of Transitional Justice, gender and international war crimes, following her work on the South African and Sierra Leonean Truth Commissions as well as her work investigating war crimes and ongoing violations in Sri Lanka including post-conflict sexual violence in Sri Lanka.

From 1995, Ms Sooka served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the Deputy Chair of the Human Rights Violations Committee and was responsible for finalizing the Commission's final report handed over to President Mbeki in March 2003. She also chaired the Commission's legal sub-committee between 1995 and 2001.

Ms Sooka is currently the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, an independent non-profit Foundation established in 1996 by President Mandela's government and the European Union.

The Foundation's aims and objectives are to address the violations of the past and to build a human rights culture in South Africa. The Foundation partners with the Government of South Africa on its premier Rule of Law Programme titled "Socio-economic Justice for All (SEJA) and its past program". It is also a grant-maker to civil society in South Africa.

Ms Sooka was was honoured alongside musician Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse and business leader Raymond Ackerman. The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award is in the form of a specially minted medallion and an accompanying protocol.

Source: University of Johannesburg


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