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On the International Day of Nelson Mandela: an exceptional man

Today, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Nelson Mandela on July 18 every year, coinciding with his birthday. For his part, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, "This extraordinary man who embodied the highest aspirations of the United Nations and the human family."

The Secretary-General said that Madiba's nickname Mandela's calls for solidarity and an end to racism are of particular importance today, "as division threatens social cohesion throughout the world."

Guterres added that societies have become more polarized with the increase of hate speech and the blurring of misinformation of the truth, its questioning of science and its undermining of democratic institutions, noting that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these ills and led to years of progress in the global struggle against poverty.

Guterres noted that it is the marginalized and discriminated against - and as always in times of crisis - who suffer the most, and are often blamed for problems they did not cause, and continued: "Nelson Mandela International Day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of a global defender." Mythic about dignity, equality, justice, and human rights."

According to the UN official, the pandemic has demonstrated the vital importance of human solidarity and unity, "values ​​that Nelson Mandela championed and embodied in his lifelong struggle for justice."

Guterres stressed that no one is safe until everyone is safe. “Every one of us has a role to play. Let us take Madiba’s message that each one of us can make a difference in promoting peace, human rights, harmony with nature and dignity for all. Let us all honor Madiba’s call to action and draw strength from his legacy.”

According to the United Nations, Nelson Mandela Day is an occasion for all to act and inspire change. In 2009, the General Assembly declared 18 July as "Nelson Mandela International Day" in recognition of his contribution to a culture of peace and freedom.

In December 2015, the General Assembly decided to expand the scope of International Nelson Mandela Day to be used also to promote the humanitarian conditions of prison and to raise awareness about prisoners as part of society, and the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and agreed to be known as the “Nelson Rules” Mandela" in order to honor the legacy of the late South African president.