UN honours Nelson Mandela as champion of peace, reconciliation

New York, US (PANA) - The UN family on Friday mourned the loss and celebrated the enduring legacy of Nelson Mandela, the former South African leader and peace advocate, who passed away on Thursday aged 95.

PANA in New York reports that the UN flag was lowered to half-mast over the world body's headquarters in New York, while the 193-member UN General Assembly held a moment of silence to honour the memory of the man affectionately known as "Madiba".

Mandela emerged from 27 years of imprisonment to become South Africa's first black President and is known worldwide for his compassionate yet determined efforts to dismantle the country's legacy of apartheid.

General Assembly President, Mr. John Ashe said: "Today, in this Assembly of Nations, we mourn the loss of Mr. Nelson Mandela, one of our world's greatest leaders."

He said that the example of Mandela's life and actions, demonstrates the difference one person can make in the face of adversity, oppression and prejudice, while maintaining a disposition of humility, humour and modesty that is so rare among people of his stature.

In his remarks, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson hailed Mandela's courage, farsightedness, political skills and kindness.

Mr. Eliasson also said: "In a world too often driven and divided by vicious cycles of violence and revenge, perhaps the most impressive of Mandela's gifts was his power of forgiveness, his ability to overcome bitterness and hatred.

"We remember Nelson Mandela today. But we should carry his spirit with us everyday. It means, speaking out against prejudice and discrimination wherever we see their dark manifestations.

"It means standing up against the indignity and deprivation that millions of our fellow human beings still suffer around the world."

The UN Security Council, held a moment of silence, and issued a statement expressing deep admiration for his "moral and political leadership".

The Council also eulogised Mandela's decisive role in shaping the peaceful transition to a united and democratic South Africa.
-0- PANA AA/MA 7Dec2013

07 december 2013 14:28:49

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