Man­dela Day seeks to tackle poverty on global stage

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - PE­TER KENNY

GENEVA: Nel­son Man­dela In­ter­na­tional Day fo­cused on tak­ing ac­tion against poverty, UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res said on Tues­day in a spe­cial mes­sage read out for him.

It also high­lighted an in­ter­na­tional le­gal con­test in Man­dela’s name tak­ing place in Geneva and co-hosted with the Cen­tre of Hu­man Rights at the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria.

Michael Møller, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the UN Of­fice in Geneva, shared Guter­res’s mes­sage at a cer­e­mony at­tended by dig­ni­taries from around the world, in­clud­ing South Africa.

The UN leader spoke of Man­dela’s “wis­dom, com­pas­sion and, above all, his hu­mil­ity”.

“Nel­son Man­dela con­tin­ues to in­spire the world through his ex­am­ple of courage and com­pas­sion, and his com­mit­ment to so­cial jus­tice and a cul­ture of free­dom and peace,” he said.

“Nel­son Man­dela recog­nised ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and other ba­sic ser­vices (and that) so­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion and ex­clu­sion all con­trib­ute to keep­ing peo­ple in the grip of poverty. Let’s be in­spired by his call and take ac­tion to im­prove the lives of others,” said Møller.

Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria Pro­fes­sor Christoph Heyns, who serves on the UN Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee, wel­comed all par­tic­i­pants to the 9th Nel­son Man­dela World Hu­man Rights Moot Court tak­ing place in Geneva, which has been called the “Olympic Games of hu­man rights”.

The South African Am­bas­sador to the UN in Geneva, Nozipho Joyce Mx­akato-Diseko, said Man­dela “firmly be­lieved that po­lit­i­cal free­dom with­out free­dom from hunger was mean­ing­less”.

She said it was an hon­our to com­mem­o­rate Nel­son Man­dela In­ter­na­tional Day, “a day born of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism at its finest”. The day, which has been adopted in a UN Gen­eral Assem­bly Res­o­lu­tion sup­ported by all UN mem­ber states, pays “trib­ute to our late icon’s legacy in ad­vanc­ing the cause of jus­tice, peace and devel­op­ment”, she said.

“For us as South Africans, Nel­son Man­dela Day reaf­firms our global com­mit­ment to the val­ues and mis­sion on which the UN was founded.

“This is to serve as a cham­pion and ad­vo­cate for the poor, the needy and the op­pressed,” she said.

“In this con­text this year’s Nel­son Man­dela Day theme: ‘Tak­ing Ac­tion Against Poverty’ serves as a re­minder to us all of the un­fin­ished work we all have,” said the am­bas­sador.

Heyns, who is also a di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre of Hu­man Rights at the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, said many of the young peo­ple at­tend­ing the July 18 event “have been deeply touched by Nel­son Man­dela and the val­ues he stood for”.

The fi­nal of the Nel­son Man­dela World Hu­man Rights Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion, which in­volves 36 teams from 24 coun­tries, will be held to­mor­row at Geneva’s Palais des Na­tions.

South African Am­bas­sador to the UN in Geneva, Nozipho Joyce Mx­aka­toDiseko, left, and Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria law ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Christoph Heyns.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.