[notice noticeType=”info” ]Photo: Pictured here is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) with Navi Pillay (left), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Agostinho Zacarias, UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa at a luncheon for the UN Country Team in Johannesburg. They attended memorial services for the late South African President, Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Rebecca Hearfield.[/notice]
Upon hearing about the death of the legendary Nelson Mandela, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was on his way to Paris stopped everything and headed straight for the UN Press Room in the Secretariat Building to issue a statement to UN Correspondents covering global news, including “Baltic Review”.
Here is what the Secretary-General had to say, as well as statements made by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Nelson Mandela’s historic legacy and inspirational life. In addition, we’ve included comments made by Charge d’Affaires, Ioannis Vrailas, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations on December 19, 2013, at a special General Assembly meeting.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described Nelson Mandela as a “singular figure on the global stage – a man of quiet dignity and achievement and for justice and a down-to-earth inspiration.” As he explained, “I was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela.” When I thanked him for his life-work, he insisted that the credit belonged to others. I was very moved by his selflessness and deep sense of shared work together. Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example. “
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that “there is so much to remember from the life of Nelson Mandela: courage, determination, farsightedness, political skills, generosity, kindness and wit But, in a world too often driven and divided by vicious cycles of violence and revenge, perhaps the most impressive of President Mandela’s gifts was his power of forgiveness, his ability to overcome bitterness and hatred. He once said: “Hating clouds the mind .It get is the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.”
On December 19, during a special meeting of the General Assembly dedicated to the life and memory of Nelson Mandela, Ioannis Vrailas, Charge d’affaires, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations said: “His vision for South Africa’s future continues to be of inspiration to all of us. Alongside South Africa’s political struggle, other battles have been waged in that country to improve the lives of those who have been denied economic opportunity and social justice. We stand with South Africa in these endeavours, consolidating our close relationship, which is strongly based on shared values.”
Ioannis Vrailas went on to say, “Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity have been recognized by the General Assembly. His work on conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and underdeveloped communities is reflected in all of the UN’s activities. His life will therefore continue to be an important source of inspiration and daily motivation for our work here at the General Assembly. As he said himself: “a fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.. Let us give real expression to such concerns in our work here – in what we do and how we do it. “