UN commemorates Mandela

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The best way to honour Mandela’s legacy is by taking action, the UN chief added…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described Nelson Mandela as a “moral compass,” calling for honouring the former South African President’s legacy by taking action.

“Nelson Mandela was a healer of communities and a mentor to generations,” Guterres said on Monday in his message to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day, which was observed on Monday.

“He remains a moral compass and reference to us all,” the UN chief said, adding that Mandela showed that “each and every one of us has the ability and responsibility to build a better future for all.”

“Our world today is marred by war; overwhelmed by emergencies; blighted by racism, discrimination, poverty, and inequalities; and threatened by climate disaster. Let us find hope in Nelson Mandela’s example and inspiration in his vision,” Guterres said.

The best way to honour Mandela’s legacy is by taking action, the UN chief added.

“By speaking out against hate and standing up for human rights. By embracing our common humanity — rich in diversity, equal in dignity, united in solidarity. And by together making our world more just, compassionate, prosperous, and sustainable for all,” he said.

Under the theme of taking action and inspiring change, the Nelson Mandela International Day was celebrated through an informal meeting of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

At the special event, UN officials, representatives of member states, among others, delivered remarks in memory of Nelson Mandela, stressing the relevance of his legacy to the present time.

In his remark, Abdulla Shahid, President of the UN General Assembly, underscored that Mandela’s fight against apartheid was in fact a fight for a better world, in which the freedom, justice and dignity of all were respected.

Citing multiple challenges, including conflict, global pandemic and global food security crisis at the very moment, he said that it’s not the time for despair.

“No matter the challenges and obstacles, we must persevere with conviction, with determination, and with hope,” Shahid said, adding that this is what Mandela would have wanted and fought for.

Delivering the keynote address, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, said the life and legacy of Mandela must be celebrated every day, particularly as younger generations may not be familiar with his leadership.

“Let’s talk with our children about what he stood for. Let’s seek out what we have in common, empower all people to reclaim our democracies, and harness the light of Mandela’s memory to illuminate the way forward,” he said.

Prince Harry attended the ceremony alongside his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. 

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared on July 18, Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of the former South African President’s contributions to peace and freedom.

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