Nelson Mandela International Day> 18 July

It is easy to break down and destroy.
The heroes are those who make peace and build”.  – Nelson Mandela

What is Mandela Day?

On July 18, every year, we invite you to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in your communities. Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better! Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change.

November 2009 – in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, UN General Assembly declares 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day”. Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in: conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice. The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

67 years in service of humanity

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

Nelson Mandela Short Biography

The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights. A member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the antiapartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multiethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. after retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela’s Childhood and Education Nelson

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, into a royal family of the Xhosa-speaking Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo, where his father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa (c. 1880-1928), served as chief. His mother, Nosekeni Fanny, was the third of Mphakanyiswa’s four wives, who together bore him nine daughters and four sons. After the death of his father in 1927, 9-year-old Mandela—then known by his birth name, Rolihlahla—was adopted by Jongintaba Dalindyebo, a high-ranking Thembu regent who began grooming his young ward for a role within the tribal leadership.

On 24 September 2018, world leaders gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. At the Summit, nearly 100 Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Member States and representatives of civil society participants adopted a political declaration committed to redoubling efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, as they paid tribute to the late South African President’s celebrated qualities and service to humanity.

Recognizing the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, the Declaration saluted Mr. Mandela for his humility, forgiveness and compassion, acknowledging as well his contribution to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

By the text, Heads of State and Government and Member States representatives reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the sovereign equality of all States and respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, as well as the duty of Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force.  Recognizing that peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations system and the foundations for collective security and well‑being, the Declaration reaffirmed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We resolve to move beyond words in the promotion of peaceful, just, inclusive and non‑discriminatory societies,” leaders pledged, as they stressed the importance of the equal participation and full involvement of women and youth.

They also declared that racism, xenophobia and related intolerance represent the very opposite of the purposes of the United Nations and emphasized their resolve to protect the rights of children, especially in armed conflict.  “Protecting children contributes to breaking the cycle of violence and sows the seeds for future peace,” the Declaration said.

In addition, leaders reaffirmed that each State has a responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  They underscored that civil society can play an important role in preventing conflicts, contributing to peacebuilding and advancing efforts to sustain peace.

Further by the Declaration, they emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace by preventing conflict and addressing its root causes and strengthening the rule of law, poverty eradication, and social development.  “It is clear that lasting peace is not realized just by the absence of armed conflict, but is achieved through a continuing positive, dynamic, inclusive and participatory process of dialogue,” they underscored.

They also welcomed the example set by South Africa in unilaterally dismantling its nuclear‑weapon programme and recalled the firm plea made by Mr. Mandela in favour of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  They further recommended “in the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s legacy” that the United Nations explore means to consider the needs of present and future generations in its decision‑making processes.

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