Namibian doctor and former Portuguese President awarded first UN Mandela Prize

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Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN File Photo/ P. Sudhakaran

An eye doctor from Namibia and a former President of Portugal are the winners of the first United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.

The award recognizes those who have dedicated their lives to serving humanity and honours the late South African leader's life and legacy.

Dianne Penn reports.

The first-ever laureates of the UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize are Dr Helena Ndume, who has helped more than 30,000 Namibians to receive no-cost eye surgery, and Jorge Sampaio, a leader in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Portugal.

The announcement was made on Monday by Sam Kutesa, President of the UN General Assembly, which established the award in 2014.

"On behalf of Member States and on my own behalf, I warmly congratulate Dr Ndume and Mr. Sampaio. We can all be very proud of them."(10 secs)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will present the laureates with their award in a ceremony in New York next month as part of the commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, observed on 18 July.

The UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize will be awarded every five years to one man and one woman.

Laureates will not be selected from the same geographic region.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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