July 15, 2008

Kerry, Corker, Whitehouse Announce Nelson Mandela Will Be Removed From Terror Watch Lists

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. John Kerry, Bob Corker, and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that former South African President Nelson Mandela will be removed from U.S. terrorism watch lists. President Bush today signed H.R. 5690, a law authorizing the U.S. Department of State to waive U.S. travel restrictions on President Mandela and other members of the African National Congress (ANC.)

Mandela and many ANC members remained on the lists for activities they conducted against South Africa’s apartheid regime decades ago. The senators championed legislation to remove Mandela and others from the lists and end an embarrassing impediment to improving U.S.-South Africa relations.

“This law rectifies an appalling error in our nation’s relationship with South Africa. Nelson Mandela stands as one of the world’s strongest voices against brutal oppression and tyranny. It’s high time we honored his message of human dignity and valor by removing unjustified travel restrictions placed on him and other members of the ANC. He had no place on our government’s terror watch list, and I’m pleased to see this bill finally become law,” said Kerry.

“Nelson Mandela served as a beacon for freedom and democracy during a dark time in the history of South Africa. I am pleased the president has signed into law a piece of legislation that will honor his commitment and sacrifices by lifting dishonorable travel restrictions imposed upon him and other members of the African National Congress,” said Corker.

“Nelson Mandela does not belong on a terrorist watch list – period. This problem has caused injustice to South African leaders and embarrassment to the United States, and I’m glad it will be repaired,” said Whitehouse.

In November 2007, Kerry met with Mandela in South Africa and toured Robben Island, where Mandela was kept for eighteen of the twenty-seven years he spent imprisoned during the apartheid era.


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