On 10 November, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution declaring 18 July as "Nelson Mandela International Day." The Day will mark Mr. Mandela’s contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation, and in addressing racial issues. At 91 years of age, Mr. Mandela still actively speaks out on human rights, peace and other topical issues.
General Assembly President Ali Treki said that with the adoption of this resolution, “the international community was expressing its appreciation for "a great man" who suffered for the sake of people everywhere.”
Nelson Mandela is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. While fighting against apartheid, he was arrested and convicted in 1963. His release in 1990, after 27 years in prison, fed political debates in the country and contributed to South Africa’s transition towards a multiracial democracy.
After his release, Mr. Mandela continued addressing racial issues in his country and supported reconciliation initiatives. His efforts resulted in him becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa from 1994-1999; and winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Currently, he is celebrated as an international statesman for his long career in national and international politics.
In July 2007, Mr. Mandela formed the Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.
The first Nelson Mandela International Day will be celebrated on 18 July 2010, Mr. Mandela’s 92nd birthday.