UN News Centre – Africa
10 December 2013
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, telling the tens of thousands gathered at the memorial service held in Johannesburg that the life and legacy of the former South African president was an inspiration not only for his country but for the world.
“This grandest of all baobab trees left deep roots that reach across the planet,” Mr. Ban said, addressing a rain-soaked crowd at the soccer stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 World Cup.
Mr. Mandela passed away last Thursday at the age of 95. Affectionately known as ‘Madiba,’ the late human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience and Nobel Peace Prize winner was the first democratically-elected President of post-apartheid South Africa.
“Nelson Mandela was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time. He was one of the greatest teachers. And he taught by example. He sacrificed so much and was willing to give up everything – for freedom and equality, for democracy and justice,” said Mr. Ban.
“His compassion stands out most. He was angry at injustice, not at individuals. He hated hatred, not the people caught in its grip. He showed the awesome power of forgiveness – and of connecting people with each other and with the true meaning of peace. That was his unique gift – and that was the lesson he shared with all humankind.”
The Secretary-General, who was among nearly 100 world leaders attending the service, said that South Africa’s democratic transformation was a victory by and for South Africans.
“But it was also a triumph for the ideals of the United Nations – and for anyone, anywhere, who has ever faced the poison of prejudice,” he added.
“The United Nations stood side by side with Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa in the fight against apartheid. We used every tool we had: sanctions, an arms embargo, a sports boycott, diplomatic isolation. We spoke up loud and clear across the world.
“Apartheid was vanquished,” Mr. Ban said. “But as he would be the first to say, our struggle continues – against inequality and intolerance, and for prosperity and peace.
“Nelson Mandela showed us the way with a heart larger than this stadium and an infectious smile that could easily power its lights. In fact, it lit up the world…
“It is the duty of all of us who loved him to keep his memory alive in our hearts, and to embody his example in our lives.”
9 December 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived today in Johannesburg, where he will join scores of world leaders at the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.
“We join together in sorrow for a mighty loss and in celebration of a mighty life,” Mr. Ban said in remarks at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which is a museum.
Mr. Mandela, affectionately known as ‘Madiba,’ died last Thursday. The late human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience, international peacemaker and first democratically-elected President of post-apartheid South Africa was 95.
“Nelson Mandela’s principled stand in defense of the fundamental equality of all human beings was decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid,” said Mr. Ban. “His remarkable compassion upon his release from prison after 27 years set South Africa immediately on a path of dialogue and reconciliation.”
The Secretary-General hailed Mr. Mandela as “a giant for justice, equality and human rights,” adding that he was more than one of the world’s greatest leaders. “He was a teacher, and he taught and practiced by example.”
Mr. Ban recalled meeting Mr. Mandela at his home in February 2009, and how “deeply moved” the UN chief was by the way Madiba put the well-being of others first, by his humility, modesty, humble mind, and human decency.
“That is wisdom for today as we strive to help the vulnerable, end armed conflict, protect human rights and create the better world for which Nelson Mandela gave so much.
“The people of South Africa and the entire world have lost a hero. His legacy is profound, immortal and will continue to guide the work of the United Nations.”
The Secretary-General also visited Mr. Mandela’s residence, where he offered his condolences to the former President’s family.
According to media reports, Tuesday’s memorial service in Johannesburg will precede three days during which Mr. Mandela’s body will lie in state in the Union Buildings in Pretoria before his burial on Sunday in his childhood village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
9 December 2013 The continued “precariousness” of security in Libya highlights the need for dialogue between the Government and the main armed militias, the top United Nations official in the North African country told the Security Council today.
“It is essential for all parties to engage in dialogue and create the right balance of incentives in order to stimulate a comprehensive process of reintegration and eventual disarmament,” Tarik Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General said in a briefing to the 15-member body.
Mr. Mitri, who also heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), stressed that the ultimate goal was State monopoly on the use of force.
UNSMIL has been supporting the efforts of the Libyan Government and people to ensure the success of the democratic transition process in the country, which has been under way since the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi two years ago.
In his briefing today, Mr. Mitri reported on popular frustration with the political process and with the persistence of armed militias, many of which originated in the struggle to overthrow Mr. Qadhafi.
In November, fighting between militias in Tripoli and targeted assassinations in Benghazi sparked mass demonstrations calling for the withdrawal of the armed groups from urban areas, he said, reporting that the aftermath led to killings in both cities.
There have been some militia withdrawals from Tripoli and a negotiated truce in Benghazi, he said, while adding that it remains to be seen how effective those moves will be and noting the serious problem posed by the weak capacity of State military and policy institutions.
In addition, the situation of the 8,000 conflict-related detainees, the majority of whom continue to await judicial processes in the custody of armed brigades, remains a source of concern, although the recommendations of the recent UNSMIL report on torture and other ill-treatment of those prisoners had been welcomed by the Government.
He welcomed, in that context, improved conditions of detention in facilities placed under the authority of newly trained judicial police officers as well as the promulgation of a new law on transitional justice last week by the General National Congress.
In the continuing effort to control arms and dangerous substances left over from the fight to oust Mr. Qadhafi, he reported that UNSMIL had received preliminary information on portable surface to air missiles known as MANPADs and requested further documentation from the Government.
On the uranium fissile material known as yellowcake, he said UNSMIL had received information on 6,400 barrels under control of a Libyan army battalion and will support a visit by a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this month.
An inspection team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is also expected to visit later this month to observe and verify the elimination of relevant material following the destruction of almost 9 metric tons of mustard gas earlier this year, Mr. Mitri said.
On the political front, he said that the nominations process for the election of a constitution drafting assembly successfully concluded on 7 November and the first phase of voter registration for a general election commenced on 1 December, although a firm date for polling has not been set. UNSMIL continues to underscore the need for an inclusive national dialogue, he said.
Also expressing concern over the situation in Libya today, the Director-General for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deplored threats to media workers following the murder of radio station manager Radwan Gharyani on 1 December and the killing of journalist Saleh Hayana last month.
“I am deeply concerned about the targeting of media workers in Libya,” Irina Bokova said, adding: “Media pluralism and freedom of expression must be protected. I therefore urge the authorities to do all in their power to bring the culprits of attacks on the media to justice.”
Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46696&Cr=libya&Cr1=