Statement by Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day
Brussels, 17 July 2020/OACPS: On 18 July, we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a global icon and great statesman. Mr. Mandela’s life is proof that while our origins may contribute to our final destination, they do not determine it. Through his example, we know that injustice and intolerance can be conquered. And we know that inequality and xenophobia are not insurmountable barriers for those who are determined to overcome them.
On “Madiba’s” birthday, we commemorate not only the birth of this extraordinary human being, but also the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace which extends until 2028. During this year, in which we observe the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, Mr. Mandela’s contribution to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace resonates even more than ever.
Against the current backdrop of the demonstrations arising from the unjust killing of Mr. George Floyd in the US, along with the murders of countless other black and minority victims and the systemic racism that supports and abets these injustices, we hold fast, on this day, in this decade, to the sacrifices, the teachings and the leadership of this man who showed us that social change, peace and reconciliation are possible. The 18th of July is a moment for us all to renew the values that guided Mr. Mandela, and his unwavering belief in the equality and dignity of every woman and man.
As the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, titled, “the Power of Change”, we consider how we can contribute to the change we wish to see. The OACPS therefore announces the launch of a new series of dialogues on key, socio-economic topics of importance to our Members, the OACPS Ubuntu Dialogues. The first of these Dialogues will be held on 10 September 2020 on the topic of ‘Beyond Diversity: Racial Equality, Equity and Justice’. More information on the event will be available closer to the actual event and we close with a reminder of the legacy left by Mr. Mandela: