The Swindon Seniors Forum have learned
great sadness of the passing of our patron,
the most respected human rights lawyer, Lord Joel Joffe.
The reaction to his departure has been
widespread, mourning the loss of a man who
dedicated his life for humanitarian
Lord Joffe was born in 1932 in South Africa where,
from a young age,
he opposed the wrongs of South African apartheid.
This sentiment expressed itself as soon as he
obtained his law degree at the University of Witwatersran in Johannesburg
as he set to work in his capacity as a human rights lawyer.
culminated in defending the most famous political
personality in the history of South Africa,
another human rights activitist who later became the
first democratically elected president in South Africa,
the late Nelson Mandela.
Joffe also represented campaigner and African National Congress veteran
Mama Thembi Nobhadula.
Before he defended Mandela, Lord Joffe had plans
to immigrate to Australia, plans which had to wait
for the conclusion of the Rivonnia Trial.
Unfortunately, he was refused entry to Australia
allegedly because of his involvement in that trial so he
migrated to the UK,
where he worked
in life insurance and financial services,
setting up Hambro Life Assurance (subsequently Allied Dunbar)
with another South African, Sir Mark Weinberg.
He also worked in major hospitals and
health authorities and with Oxfam in its early budding years.
the Joffe Charitable Trust
through which he supported a number of charities.
It is not surprising that his contributions
to civil society in the UK and South Africa
have led to his appointment
CBE in the 1999 New Year Honours
and made a life peer on 16 February 2000,
being raised to the peerage as Baron Joffe, of Liddington in the County of Wiltshire.
In 2016, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
Lord Joffe worked together with
to promote the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill.
In February 2003 he proposed the Bill as
a Private Member's Bill
to legalise physician-assisted dying.
After deliberation by a Lords committee,
the bill was put forward again in November 2005.
Although he retired from the House of Lords
on 30 March 2015, Lord Joffe
continued his work in the voluntary sector and
continued to support worthy causes, via his charitable trust,
until the very end.