Nelson Mandela International Day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of “a legendary global advocate for dignity, equality, justice and human rights”, the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on Sunday.

“Each year, on this day, Nelson’s Mandela’s birthday, we pay tribute to this extraordinary man who embodied the highest aspirations of the United Nations and the human family”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message commemorating the 18 July celebration of South Africa’s first Black head of State.  

Affectionately known as Madiba, his calls for solidarity and an end to racism are particularly relevant today, as social cohesion around the world is under threat of division.  

With hate speech on the rise and misinformation blurring the truth, questioning science and undermining democratic institutions, societies are becoming more polarized, said the UN chief.  

Nelson Mandela International Day

And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not only made these ills more acute but also rolled back years of progress in the global fight against poverty.  

“As always in times of crises, it is the marginalized and discriminated against who suffer the most, often while being blamed for problems they did not cause”, said Mr. Guterres according UN News.

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