Nelson Mandela Day is a call to action, says UN ChiefListen /
Nelson Mandela Day is a call to action and people across the globe can celebrate by helping address real problems in their community.
That was the Secretary-General's message on the Day, observed every year on 18 July.
Last year, the world lost one of its greatest leaders when Mr Mandela passed away, Mr Ban Ki-moon said.
He recalled how back in 1990, shortly after Mandela was released from prison, he came to the United Nations headquarters.
"It was a moment of great excitement. Nelson Mandela's presence in the General Assembly Hall proved that United Nations resolutions, sanctions and solidarity can win over violence and injustice. His extraordinary compassion after 27 years in prison showed that human rights and equality are stronger than discrimination and hate. On that day in 1990, he said people would always be challenged by the fact that, quote, "it took as long as it has before all of us stood up to say enough is enough". The room burst into applause."
The UN Chief commended the late Mandela, the UN and the "countless other individuals" who helped rid the world of Apartheid.
But our planet and its people still face terrible threats, he deplored, citing poverty, discrimination, climate change, conflict and more.
People can give great meaning to this celebration, he noted, by paving the way for a better future.
Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations.