UN General Assembly holds special meeting to honour Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela (centre)

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday held a special meeting to honour Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter and leader who passed away on 5 December.

The President of the General Assembly John Ashe described Mandela as "a most unusual man" who moved a nation, a continent and the world around him through his actions, his words and his thoughts.

Ambassador Ashe said this past week the collective thoughts of the international community have been with the Mandela family, the people and government of South Africa who are in mourning and celebrating the glorious life of Nelson Mandela.

"The tributes have been numerous and generous for this beloved leader whose life's work and example touched and inspired people in every part of the world. Today, in this our Assembly of Nations, we gather to add our voices to that chorus of tributes and to reaffirm global admiration for the exceptional qualities that Madiba exhibited during his lifetime." (29")

Ambassador Ashe said these qualities are "invaluable to the life and dignity of all peoples, and transcend the boundaries of race, ethnicity, language, culture, and geography."

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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