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UNOG Commemoration in Honour of Nelson Mandela

Commemoration in honour of the late former President of the Republic of South Africa
Mr. Nelson Mandela

A commemoration in honour of former President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Nelson Mandela, was held on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room (Room XX).

The commemoration brought together the international community in Geneva to pay collective respect to one of the greatest leaders and most remarkable human beings of our time, salute his extraordinary courage, and be inspired by his struggle for freedom, equality and justice for all.

The commemoration included a message from the Secretary-General, a video message from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, remarks by the Permanent Representative of South Africa and the Permanent Observer of the African Union, and an address by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Those who were not able to participate may watch the archived webcast video at webtv.un.org.


Hide details for Secretary-General's message to Memorial Ceremony for Nelson Mandela
Secretary-General's message to Memorial Ceremony for Nelson Mandela


I am honoured to join with all of you in paying tribute to the remarkable life and legacy of the late former President Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela was a singular figure on the global stage -- a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.

Just months after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela came here to the Palais des Nations in Geneva to deliver his first address to a United Nations audience. In his remarks to the 1990 International Labour Conference, he spoke of how he and his fellow political prisoners “drew inspiration” from the world’s support throughout the long and difficult struggle to help end the evil of apartheid.

In truth, it was Nelson Mandela who inspired us with his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways. At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of his people and humanity, and he did so at great personal sacrifice. Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention without rancor, determined to build a new South Africa based on dialogue and understanding.

Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us -- if we believe, dream and work together. Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world.

Show details for Remarks by Kofi Annan for the Memorial Ceremony for Nelson MandelaRemarks by Kofi Annan for the Memorial Ceremony for Nelson Mandela

Show details for Remarks by the Permanent Representative of the African Union for the Memorial Ceremony for Nelson MandelaRemarks by the Permanent Representative of the African Union for the Memorial Ceremony for Nelson Mandela

Show details for Remarks of the Acting Director-General of UNOG at the commemoration in Honour of Nelson MandelaRemarks of the Acting Director-General of UNOG at the commemoration in Honour of Nelson Mandela

Show details for Acting Director-General's tribute to Nelson MandelaActing Director-General's tribute to Nelson Mandela