The United Nations has declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
The resolution was adopted yesterday by the 192-member General Assembly to commemorate the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s long-standing commitment to promoting conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation and gender equality.
The Day will be observed annually on 18 July, Mr. Mandela’s birthday, starting in 2010 when the former anti-apartheid leader will turn 92 years old.
By adopting the resolution, the UN expressed its appreciation for a great man who had suffered for the sake of people everywhere, said Assembly President Ali Treki, recognizing Mr. Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment, most of which was spent in the notorious Robben Island detention centre off the coast of Cape Town.
After his release from prison in 1990, Mr. Mandela became the first President elected in a fully representative democratic ballot in post-apartheid South Africa, holding office from 1994 to 1999 in accordance with the country’s Constitution.
At an event marking his 91st birthday this year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “Nelson Mandela is a living embodiment of the highest values of the United Nations.”