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Nelson Mandela: synonymous with the fight for justice – deputy head of the UN

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Nelson Mandela: synonymous with the fight for justice – deputy head of the UN

By Cecilia Ologunagba

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed of Nigeria hailed Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, describing him as exemplifying “courage, compassion and an unwavering commitment to social justice. and equality ”.

Mohammed told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday in New York at a special session held to celebrate Mandela, the man who led the struggle to end South Africa’s racist apartheid system.

Celebrating International Mandela Day – officially commemorated on July 18 – the deputy UN chief said he embodied the highest aspirations of the United Nations and the human family.

Affectionately known as Madiba, she said the 2021 celebration would have been Nelson Mandela’s 102nd birthday.

Hate speech and denial of fact are becoming “common in liberal democracies as well as authoritarian regimes,” Mohammed said, “confusing the truth, questioning science and undermining democratic institutions.”

She pointed to an alarming trend that people with little or no knowledge of historical facts were infected with the virus of disinformation and distortion, and adopted violent ideologies.

“COVID-19 has escalated this, rolling back years of progress in the global fight against poverty and injustice, leaving the most suffering marginalized and disenfranchised, and often being blamed for problems they don’t. have not caused.

“It is our individual responsibility to follow Madiba’s example of humility, forgiveness and compassion,” Mohammed said.

People of African descent, indigenous, ethnic or religious minorities – and those who fled their homes as refugees – are the first victims of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, according to the official of ONU.

“These are the evils that Nelson Mandela fought against to create his lasting legacy,” said the UN deputy chief.

In September 2018, the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at UN Headquarters brought together government and civil society representatives who pledged to redouble their efforts for a prosperous, inclusive and just world and declared 2019 to 2028 the Nelson Mandela Decade for Peace.

“It is our individual responsibility to follow Madiba’s example of humility, forgiveness and compassion, while advocating for democracy and world peace.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the vital importance of human solidarity and unity, values ​​defended and exemplified by Madiba in his lifelong fight for justice.

“And with a role for everyone, she urged the gathering to be inspired by Madiba’s message that” each of us can make a difference in promoting peace, human rights, harmony with nature and dignity for all, “” she said.

The deputy general secretary shared that since her youth, as she tried to find her way, Mandela had been a personal inspiration.

“As we reflect on Madiba’s life and work, let us each stand up and be counted. Let’s borrow a leaf of his stubborn optimism in human enterprise.

“Let us all honor his call to action and be energized by his legacy,” she urged.

In his remarks, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said that in life and legacy Nelson Mandela advocated “the inherent dignity and equality of persons”.

“Both within and among nations, regardless of race, nationality or creed – universal values, embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and human rights treaties. “

As the Assembly is charged with defending and protecting these values, he said it was only right to “meet here today, to celebrate, promote these ideals and honor Nelson Mandela”.

Bozkir said Mandela’s name is synonymous with the struggle for justice and equality that should be remembered when considering the plight of 82.4 million forcibly displaced people around the world.

“The plight of 82.4 million forcibly displaced people around the world, women and girls subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, as well as intolerance and racial discrimination that threaten to erode the progress for which it is ‘is beaten so badly.

“As an international community, we must take collective action. Because we will not achieve the goals of Agenda 2030 as long as racism and discrimination persist, ”said the President of the Assembly.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great suffering to individuals and nations, straining health systems, creating an unprecedented socio-economic crisis and diverting our development trajectory.

“In recovery, human rights must be respected for everyone, everywhere, and multilateral efforts must be galvanized for fair and equitable access to vaccines for all.

“Simply put, we have to act in Madiba’s mind if we are to rebuild better.

Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, told the meeting that systemic racism has had a pernicious effect on communities around the world.

Reminding the Assembly that Mandela used the Swahili ubunti world to explain that “being free is not just letting go of your chains,” but living in a way that improves the lives of others, she proposed. the additional sentence, Mimi ni kwa sababu wewe ni – which translates to “I am because you are”.

“We are all connected, and this one can only grow and progress through the growth and advancement of others,” she said. (NAA)

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