5th Plenary Meeting (Resumed) of General Assembly 73rd Session

Preview Language:   English
02-Oct-2018 02:49:17
Nelson Mandela peace summit concludes with urgent calls for dialogue, tolerance to resolve prolonged conflicts at resumed 5th plenary meeting.

Available Languages: Six Official
Six Official
Other Formats
The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit concluded today as senior Government officials and representatives of international organizations called on world leaders to uphold the principles Mr. Mandela stood for — courage, humility and tolerance — to promote peace and stability across the globe. Speakers stressed that Mr. Mandela’s teachings are the foundation for global peace initiatives.

The Summit opened on 24 September 2018 when world leaders unanimously adopted a political declaration through which they saluted Mr. Mandela for his forgiveness and compassion, acknowledging as well his contribution to the struggle for democracy (document A/73/L.1). (For more information about the Summit’s opening day, see Press Release GA/12060.)

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), President of the General Assembly, in closing remarks, said the Summit, with its more than 150 speakers and its powerful political declaration, reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to multilateralism. The ideals that inspired the former South African President, such as peace, development, disarmament and upholding fundamental rights, should be an inspiration to the Assembly in its day‑to‑day work, she said.

As was the case during the Summit’s opening last week, speakers today hailed Mr. Mandela’s legacy of self‑sacrifice and his commitment to freedom. Mr. Mandela, in his journey from prisoner to world leader, shaped the struggle for democracy and human rights far beyond South Africa and left a legacy that transcends age, race and gender.

The representative of Eswatini said Mr. Mandela was a globally renowned human rights advocate and a selfless leader who believed in freedom for all. Mr. Mandela’s appeal transcends colour, gender and age, he said, adding that in a time of uncertainty, Mr. Mandela’s teachings must ring loud. Conflict, racial discrimination and inequality continue to haunt the world and dialogue must guide efforts to foster stability, he stressed.

Ethiopia’s representative said Mr. Mandela fought for the ideals of freedom, justice and reconciliation, the same ideals towards which the United Nations works. In his early days, Mr. Mandela visited Ethiopia where he received some of the training and skills that would later propel him to leadership positions. As Ethiopia undertakes huge reform, the Government is looking at Mr. Mandela’s teachings to sustain peace and stability. He also said his Government is entering a new era of relations with Eritrea as States in the Horn of Africa pursue increased cooperation.

The representative of Philippines said Mr. Mandela embodied the highest ideals of humanity and his journey from prisoner to President is emblematic of his larger‑than‑life story. Mr. Mandela represented the highest values of the United Nations and showed what was truly possible when rule of law triumphs over prejudice.

A representative of the United States said Mr. Mandela transformed South Africa into a better version of itself and that his legacy transcends boundaries and will continue to influence the fight for justice and equality around the world. Despite decades of imprisonment, Mr. Mandela never lost faith in humanity, including that of his oppressors. He was testament to the fact that peace and growth are possible anywhere.

Several speakers said Mr. Mandela’s legacy must act as the foundation for peacebuilding efforts across the world and asserted that his fight for the most oppressed people on Earth remains as relevant as ever.

Mahamat Zene Cherif, Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Integration, International Cooperation and Diaspora of Chad, said Mr. Mandela’s political career and message is particularly relevant in regions where conflict persists, like the Lake Chad region. The peaceful world Mr. Mandela advocated for must be created, he asserted.

The representative of Jordan saluted Mr. Mandela’s unrelenting efforts to promote peace and human rights and said States must consider his teachings an integral part of efforts to find a solution to the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict. She quoted Mr. Mandela in saying that the conflict was “the greatest moral issue of our time”.

The representative of Myanmar, associating himself to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said Mr. Mandela promoted a culture of peace across the world. Referencing Mr. Mandela, he said that reconciliation must happen in the hearts and minds of people, adding that those words are relevant to Myanmar as the country strives to achieve peace and build a democratic federal union.

A representative of Pakistan said Mr. Mandela’s work to help the oppressed reverberates across the world. Human rights abuses and violations of international law are rampant and prolonged conflict spoils the prospects of peace in many parts of the world. He noted that Mr. Mandela once said that peaceful efforts must be used to resolve the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.

The representative of Syria said Mr. Mandela’s legacy instils pride in all people fighting for independence and sovereignty. Mr. Mandela spent decades in jail and campaigned to defend his values. There will never be peace if hegemonic powers continue to support terror and unilateral coercive measures.

An observer from the Holy See said the world learned from Mr. Mandela that victory never means humiliating a defeated foe. Mr. Mandela was gracious and humble in victory as he pursued reconciliation, and he taught the world that peace is possible when States engage in effective multilateralism. The Holy See hopes the right to peace will be globally recognized.

An observer of the State of Palestine quoted Mr. Mandela as having once said that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. He and his companions were, and remain, the most vocal in denouncing Israel’s colonial occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and what they described as a resurgence of apartheid in Palestine, she said. “Solidarity with the Palestinian people, while strong worldwide and for which we are grateful, has found in South Africa its ultimate expression,” she said, noting that a statue of Mr. Mandela — a gift from the city of Johannesburg — stands in Ramallah.

Several non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations participated as well.

The representative of the Inter‑Parliamentary Union said the 178‑member organization will celebrate the centenary of Mr. Mandela’s birth at its upcoming assembly in Geneva on 14-18 October. Warning that “the human race is on a course toward self‑destruction”, with people growing angry and seeing enemies where friends should be found, she said individuals, communities and nations have a responsibility to value democracy and human rights as the bedrock of peace.

The representative of the South Centre, an intergovernmental research institute based in Geneva, focused on Mr. Mandela’s contribution to social development, recalling how in 2001 he took multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers to task over their pricing of HIV/AIDS medication. “His intervention represented a strong ethical call to subordinate commercial interests to the right to health,” he said, remembering Mr. Mandela as a strong supporter of the South Centre.

The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the centenary obliges the international community to recognize that human rights and fundamental freedoms — including the right to food and to development — are key for achieving inclusive and peaceful societies. “When conflicts arise, hunger increases,” she said, emphasizing that the impact is worse at a time when global military spending keeps rising while countries allocate scarce and sometimes decreasing resources to fighting hunger and poverty.

In other business, the Assembly took note of document A/73/367/Add.1, in which the Secretary‑General informs the President of the General Assembly that Guinea‑Bissau has made the payment necessary to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

Ministers from Belarus, Nepal and Nicaragua also spoke.

Also delivering statements were representatives of Burkina Faso, Benin, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Italy, Oman, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Burundi, Chile, Poland, Germany and Iraq.

Speakers from the following organizations also delivered statements: International Development Law Organization, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the International Organization of la Francophonie.
Parent ID
Asset ID