New York City, USA : A statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the UN headquarters on Monday to honour the former South Africa President’s posthumous 100th birth anniversary.
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called on countries of the world to build on Nelson Mandela’s legacy, as the UN honoured the late South African leader at a peace summit on Monday.
He was a champion for all people – in his words and in his actions – @antonioguterres at the unveiling of Nelson Mandela’s statue at UN Headquarters this morning. — UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson)
His fight against apartheid “marks a landmark in human rights and freedom”, he added, thanking the South African government for donating the statue.
A high-level meeting, the Mandala Peace Summit, was scheduled for Monday at the UN for world leaders to renew their commitment to global peace, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace building, promotion and protection of human rights and long-term development initiatives.
The peace summit also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The UN member states decided in December 2017 to hold the meeting to mark the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.
Mandela was born in July 1918 and died five years ago due to a respiratory infection and became the first black president of South Africa.
This year marks the centenary of the birth of Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for the struggle against South Africa’s racist apartheid government.
Secretary-General’s remarks at unveiling of Nelson Mandela statue [as delivered]
“I am pleased to be with you today to unveil this statue of one of humanity’s great leaders.
Nelson Mandela embodied the highest values of the United Nations – peace, forgiveness, compassion and human dignity.
He was a champion for all people – in his words and in his actions.
He was willing to fight and die for the ideals he held so dear.
When he achieved the pinnacle of power as president of his beloved country, Madiba set an example that still resounds throughout Africa and the world – he stepped down after one term, confident in the durability of South Africa’s newfound democracy.
He did not pursue power for its own sake, but simply as a means of service.
This humility is a hallmark of Madiba’s greatness.
The fight against apartheid marks a landmark in human rights and freedom.
The credit goes to the people of South Africa, but the United Nations played its role, a role that we should be proud of.
So, it is more than appropriate that our Headquarters should be honoured by this statue.
I thank the Government of South Africa for its generosity in donating it.
From this day on, all delegates, staff and visitors to the United Nations can be constantly inspired by Madiba’s legacy looking at this wonderful statue.