On February 26, 2017, South Africa lost a hero of the struggle against apartheid, retired Judge Essa Moosa, former lawyer to Nelson Mandela. Judge Moosa was a founding member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, chairing its human rights committee. He practised as an attorney until December 1997 and was appointed as a judge of the Western Cape High Court of South Africa, a division of the country’s supreme court, where he served for 13 years before retiring in February 2011.
In addition to his leading role in the battle against apartheid and establishing democratic order in post-apartheid South Africa, Judge Moosa, like his former colleague Nelson Mandela, took a strong interest in the Kurdish question. Judge Moosa was a founding member and chairperson of the Kurdish Human Right Action Group (KHRAG), established in his home city of Cape Town in 1997. KHRAG works for the protection of human rights of the Kurdish people and advocates a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Turkey. Judge Moosa was also a board member of the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative (IPRI), an effort launched in 2012 calling for a lasting and durable peace in Turkey through the promotion of dialogue and negotiation and seeking the engagement of the international community to promote the resolution process to achieve peace and stability in Turkey and the wider Middle East.
Judge Moosa travelled the world advocating for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, and was in Kurdistan as recently as July 2016.
The Washington Kurdish Institute would like to express its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Judge Moosa, the people of South Africa and the people of Kurdistan on the passing of Judge Moosa, a fighter for justice and oppressed people worldwide.