UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has recently called on nations worldwide to adhere to Nelson Mandela’s calls for solidarity and an end to racism.
“Madiba’s calls for solidarity and an end to racism are particularly relevant today, as social cohesion around the world is threatened by division,” she said, using Mandela’s clan name.
“Hate speech and the denial of facts are moving to the mainstream in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike, blurring the truth, questioning science, and undermining democratic institutions. We have seen the alarming trend of people with little or no knowledge of historical facts being infected by the virus of disinformation and distortion, and embracing violent ideologies,” she told a UN General Assembly meeting to mark Nelson Mandela International Day, which falls on July 18.
Mohammed said the ongoing global health pandemic had rendered these ills more acute while also rolling back years of progress in the global fight against poverty and injustice.
During the crisis, it is the marginalized and already discriminated against who mostly bear the grunts of the crisis often while being blamed for problems they know nothing about. People of African descent, people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, indigenous peoples, ethnic or religious groups and minorities, people who had to flee their homes as refugees bear the brunt of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance, she noted.
“These are the ills that Nelson Mandela stood up against to create his lasting legacy,” she said. “It is our individual responsibility to follow Madiba’s example of humility, forgiveness, and compassion while advocating for democracy and peace throughout the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the vital importance of human solidarity and unity, values championed and exemplified by Madiba in his life-long fight for justice,” said Mohammed.