Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to United Nations Human Rights Council’s high-level intersessional discussion marking the centenary of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, in Geneva today:
I am pleased to join with you to mark the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and celebrate the legacy of a global giant for human rights. Nelson Mandela understood that protecting and promoting human rights contributes to eliminating poverty, reducing inequalities, empowering women and creating just, inclusive and strong institutions.
In our time, we know that the protection and promotion of human rights is a fundamental component to building prosperous, inclusive societies that leave no one behind. That is driving force behind the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is also the spirit of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. We are working closely with the African Union to ensure that the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 are mainstreamed and integrated into the national planning frameworks of Member States and contribute positively to people-friendly and planet-sensitive transformation.
Nelson Mandela experience and example guide us on this pathway. It is important to recall that Madiba never wanted to be viewed as some sort of saint. He did not want to be turned into a myth. He preferred to live as a human being, reminding us that the possibility of such humanity exists in each of us. The possibility to transcend borders, to protect our core values, to combat all that threatens our humanity.
The evil of apartheid is no more. But, injustice, racial discrimination and exclusion continue to be a reality for countless people around the world. Reducing inequalities within and between States, as well as promoting peace and justice are part of the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action.
As Nelson Mandela’s experience and example continue to teach us, we must go beyond words to deeds. Concrete actions that make a real difference in the lives of people, societies and our world. Let us honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy through our action. Let us respect, protect and uphold human rights and human dignity. And let us develop the courage to seek peace over war, justice over injustice and reconciliation over revenge.
Source: United Nations