Celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela

High-level intersessional discussion

On Friday 27 April 2018, at RoomⅩⅩ, in Palais des Nations, the high-level intersessional discussion was chaired by H.E. Mr. Vojislav Šuc, President of the Human Rights Council. The opening remarks were given by Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations via a video message, and by Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. Four eminent speakers were invited for the occasion H.E. Mr. Thomas Qwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Mr. Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), H.E. Mr. Zamir Akram, Pakistan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right To Development, and H.E. Ms. Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The centenary of the late president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a timely tribute to Nelson Mandela, a global icon, who struggled and fought against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and dedicated his whole life for the respect, promotion and protection of fundamental freedom, human dignity, Justice, democracy and human rights based on the idea of  faith, social justice and reconciliation.

Mandela’s lifelong struggle remains a challenge to the entire world to seek common solutions and take concrete actions to implement international obligations for universal human rights, peace, and development. His words continue to echo in our mind and heart: “ I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”