Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN and Chairman of the African Group for July, , Omar Hilale, stressed Monday in New York that Mandela’s ideals are a universal and timeless message for humanity.
Speaking at a ceremony to celebrate Mandela’s legacy, Hilale said the event was not just a celebration of his legacy, but an action to honor his life’s work by making a change for the better.
“Throughout his life and legacy, Mandela championed the inherent dignity and equality of people, both within and between nations, regardless of race, nationality or creed,” the diplomat on the celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day, held under the theme “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Stressing that the African Group at the UN welcomes General Assembly resolution 64/13 proclaiming July 18 of each year as the Nelson Mandela International Day and recognizing his enormous contribution to human rights, democracy and equality, Hilale recalled that Mandela dedicated his life to the service of humanity by defending human rights, gender equality, tolerance and coexistence while fighting against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
In September 2018, world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters for the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit where they adopted a political declaration committing to intensify efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and equitable world while paying tribute to Mandela’s qualities in the service of humanity. They also recognized the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade for Peace, the diplomat recalled.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group at the UN, Hilale praised Mandela’s leadership, personal integrity, humility, forgiveness and compassion, while acknowledging his contribution to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace worldwide.
The diplomat conveyed the African Group’s greetings to the government and people of South Africa and to all peace-loving nations in the world, who had to overcome centuries of racial subservience and struggle for a world of peace and equality, defined by solidarity rather than difference.
“The values of solidarity, humanity, reconciliation and service to ordinary people that Nelson Mandela practiced and contributed to throughout his life are the very foundation of the shared values of our African continent,” the ambassador insisted, adding that Mandela’s spirit inspired African leaders to adopt the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.
“The future we want for Africa” enshrined in this Agenda seeks to learn from the past, build on the progress underway and strategically explore all possible opportunities to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation, he added.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “also commits us to leave no one behind. Implementing these agendas requires a collective effort from all of us,” Hilale said.
According to Morocco’s diplomat, the African Group calls on all world leaders to be guided by Mandela’s dream of a non-racial and peaceful world, where all people have equal opportunities to create a common and prosperous future for all, “despite our diversity and differences in race, color, religion, creed and level of development.”
The message behind Nelson Mandela International Day is simple: each individual has the ability and responsibility to change the world for the better every day and not just once a year as Prince Harry Duke of Sussex has just wished during this ceremony, he said.
“Let us work hand in hand and in close collaboration to make Mandela’s dream a reality,” Hilale concluded.