Madam President,
Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a great honour to participate in this historic event that reflects on global peace and commemorates the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela – a man whose lifetime symbolised uncommon humility, compassion, courage and forgiveness.

Our sincere appreciation goes to H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and H.E. Prime Minister Leo Varadkaar of Ireland, and their teams for nurturing and finalising the Political Declaration that would be adopted here today. This declaration will undoubtedly set forth commitments that would honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Madam President,
We are witnessing a time when the world is facing diverse challenges ranging from conflicts, climate change, terrorism, desertification, poverty, arms trafficking and violent extremism, among others. Yet it is a time of great hope and renaissance. On facing the death penalty, Nelson Mandela spoke from the dock at the end of the Rivonia Trial in April 1964, he said:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

It is within this ethos of the great Mandela that we place this declaration. We must therefore make concerted efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, and revive the values for which Nelson Mandela stood for by placing human dignity at the centre of our actions. This centenary celebration provides an avenue to reflect on the legacies of Nelson Mandela and his unwavering advocacy for human rights, social justice and peace. It also affords us the rare privilege to rededicate ourselves to the service of humanity by championing democracy, conflict resolution, disarmament, mutual respect, reconciliation, gender equality and the fight against poverty. There is no doubt that in the quest to attain peace and development, the world, will draw inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela.

Madam President,

As we herald the Nelson Mandela decade of peace, Nigeria calls on all states to recognise that the United Nations is built on pillars of peace and security, development and human rights, which are the foundations for our collective well-being, and emphasise that there can be no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace and the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

By this declaration, we recognise the contribution of women to the advancement of societies, and their contribution to the prevention and resolution of conflicts. We are committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of all women as well as providing an enabling environment for them to realize their full potential.

We also recognise that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples of the world is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. We declare that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance represent the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations.

Madam President,

We recognise that tolerance of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversities are essential for lasting peace, understanding and friendship among peoples, nations, cultures and individuals. As Mandela passes into history, we stand with him in his aspirations for a better world. It is our duty to live up to his indelible legacy by collectively holding ourselves accountable to the values
and principles of this Declaration by striving for a just, peaceful, prosperous, democratic, fair and inclusive world.

I thank you for your attention.

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