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Side-Event on Racism with N. Mandela's Lawyer, Mr George Bizos

Monday, 17 March 2014

In the context of the activities of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU, on the 10th of March 2014, the Permanent Mission of Greece in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of South Africa and the Permanent Mission of Djibouti organized a side-event entitled "Effective ways of combating Racism, by drawing lessons from the past".

The keynote speaker was Mr George Bizos, a well-known lawyer and a close friend of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

The event was initiated by the Permanent Representative of Greece, Ambassador Alexis Alexandris and the participant speakers included distinguished personalities such as UN Hight Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs Navy Pillay, Permanent Representative of South Africa, Ambassador A.S. Minty. They all referred to their experiences from their struggle against apartheid and focused on the contemporary ways of combating racial discriminations and racism in all of its forms.

George Bizos presented his interesting, life-time experiences, escaping from occupied Greece, during the Second World War, and ending up in South Africa, where he completed his university studies and established himself as lawyer. His 65 year friendship with Mandela dates back to their university years.

Mr Bizos was a major advocate of the imprisoned members of ‘African National Congress’ as well as of well-known leading personalities. He became an emblematic figure in the struggle against apartheid.  G. Bizos was also a pioneer in promoting the Greek language and civilization in South Africa, through his extensive involvement in the educational affairs of his adopted country since 1970 (i.e. Foundation of the South African school SAHETI)

The presence of George Bizos in the United Nations Office in Geneva, attracted major attention and the audience was able to interact with this great defender of Human Rights and vocal opponent of racism.

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