United Nations celebrates Mandela’s legacy for humanity
(New York) – Paying tribute to the first democratically-elected President of South Africa and iconic civil rights leader, the United Nations on Wednesday celebrated Nelson Mandela’s legacy for humanity and reflected on the lessons he left behind.
“He stands today as a beacon for universal values — peace, forgiveness, humility, integrity, passion, respect and service,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Madiba showed us that these are not just words or vague ideals, but concrete actions that we can all take.”
In his tribute, the UN Chief quoted the anti-Apartheid leader’s declaration that “overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
“Let us act on Madiba’s words,” said Mr. Guterres. “Let us recall all the promises we have made – in the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda – and let us commit to honour our pledges. Let us work for the better world we know can exist,” he added, calling on the world to “persevere with commitment and conviction”.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Laj??k, focused on the lessons that Madiba taught the world on the importance of dialogue, peace and tolerance. “He showed us that dialogue and negotiation should be pursued relentlessly – no matter how deep the divides, or strong the hurt,” he said, regretting that “too often we have let peace slip through our fingers. And we have waited until it was gone, to act.”
A centennial stamp was unveiled during the event, with another quote from Nelson Mandela: “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”
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