July 18th of 2021 marks the 103rd birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and advocate for social equality.
Nelson Mandela dedicated years to opposing institutionalized racial discrimination as a result of the enactment of apartheid laws of 1948 and was committed to the service of humanity. Hence, the United Nations established this international day (A/RES/64/13) in recognition of Mandela’s values that have impacted : conflict resolution; race relation; promotion and protection of human rights; rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the promotion of social justice. The General Assembly of the United Nations further recognized his contribution to the struggle for democracy at the international level and in promoting a culture of peace around the world.
Nelson Mandela has always stood strongly by his desire to protect and promote the human rights of every individual and restore the dignity of his people. In opposing the policy that legalized discrimination, he was subjected to harassment and imprisonment, solidifying him as symbol of human greatness and liberation.
Mandela International Day presents an occasion for states and citizens to renew the values left behind by the late Nelson Mandela and work towards positive social change and a sustainable, equitable and peaceful world for all. The fight against poverty and to promote peace, reconciliation and cultural diversity is relevant now more than ever, especially with the social tensions and distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has exacerbated the existing patterns of poverty and equality, placing a severe strain on social cohesion and peace.
As we celebrate this anniversary, we strongly reaffirm our solidarity with the voice of UN bodies urging all to recognize the sixty-seven years that Nelson Mandela dedicated to combating racism and his extensive efforts in social reform.
In that regard, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights will commemorate this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day with a lecture carried out by the Ambassador of South Africa In Sudan, on the 29th of July, with the intention of illuminating the transformation of the 20th century as a result of Nelson Mandela’s dedication to equality and his great impact on the 21st culture of human rights, peace and freedom.
Beyond the celebration of Mandela's legacy, this day is an opportunity to honor his dedication to making the world a better place. Within that context, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights strongly appeals to countries where racial discrimination still persists to adhere to their international and national obligations of ensuring that each individuals dignity and freedom is protected, as social justice is integral to a democratic society.
It is important to remember those who fought tirelessly, as well as the lives lost in the fight to ensure dignity, equality, human rights and justice for all, and honor these sacrifices by meeting the needs of the most vulnerable communities.