Secretary-General pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela in the UN General Assembly.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed profound sadness at the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela who died on Thursday.  He was 95 years old.

Speaking to reporters in New York that evening, the Secretary-General said Mr. Mandela showed what is possible for the world if each person were to believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity.

"I am profoundly saddened by the passing of Nelson Mandela.  Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.  Many around the world were greatly influenced by 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 spent nearly three decades in prison for fighting against apartheid, the system of racial segregation in his native South Africa.

He was released in 1990 and four years later was inaugurated as the first democratically-elected President of the country, addressing the UN General Assembly that year.

Mandela stepped down in 1999 after one term but continued to work for peace and human rights worldwide.

Since 2010, the world has commemorated his birthday, 18 July, as Nelson Mandela International Day in honour of his decades of service to humanity.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’36″

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