Mandela Day

25 Jul 2013

Introductory Remarks by
Kamal Malhotra
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Turkey


His Excellency Ambassador Khumalo,
His Excellency Ambassador Wirtu,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to be here to pay tribute to an extraordinary human being who devoted 67 years of his life to human rights. This is especially the case this year, which is one of deep reflection on both his life and work.

By gathering here today, on the occasion of his 95th birthday, we are honouring his dedication to public service, social justice and reconciliation.

The United Nations has already recognized Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, including but not limited to his work on conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights and reconciliation through the UN’s proclamation of 18 July every year as Nelson Mandela International Day. The UN has also acknowledged his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. So it is no surprise that Nelson Mandela remains such an inspiration to millions around the world. He is, as the UN Secretary-General said on 18 July this year, “a giant figure of our times”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is particularly remarkable that Madiba accomplished all that he has done without the support of money or power.

His accomplishments, however, came at great personal cost to him and his family. Nevertheless, his sacrifices have not only served the people of South Africa, but all people, everywhere. We thank Madiba for being such an inspiring global figure.

As the universally revered leader remains in hospital, I would like to conclude my remarks by echoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and reiterating that at this difficult time, the entire United Nations family is united in its thoughts and prayers which are with Nelson Mandela, his family and with all the people of South Africa. 

Thank you.