Tourism Concern has learned with great sadness of the death of one of our greatest supporters, the distinguished human rights lawyer Lord (Joel) Joffe CBE. His death comes as a profound loss to all of us at Tourism Concern and Joel will be remembered for his lifetime of good works and his support for a range of human rights causes.
Joel started his life in South Africa in 1932. As a young man, his sense of justice was first awakened by his acute awareness of the wrongs of South African apartheid. He was drawn from a young age to want to make the world a better place, and in the 1950s began a degree in law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Upon graduation, immediately set to work as a human rights lawyer. His rising star led to his crossing paths with ANC leader Nelson Mandela, and Joel served as his defence attorney at the infamous Rivonia Trial that ended with Mandela being sent to prison.
After moving to the UK, Joel’s interest in human rights and equality took a wider ambit, and he worked in the life insurance industry as well as for major hospitals, health authorities, and the then-fledgling charity Oxfam. He gave generous support to a number of charities, through a trust in his own name, the Joffe Charitable Trust, and through this was also one of Tourism Concerns most generous donors over many years.
Joel’s enormous contributions to civil society, both in the UK and previously in South Africa, led to his being created a Labour peer as Baron Joffe of Liddington in 2000. Joel eventually retired from the House of Lords in 2015, but maintained his keen interest in the work of Tourism Concern.