Mr Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General, said this year’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day came at a moment of deep reflection on his life and work.
He said as the universally revered leader remained in hospital; “we extend our best wishes to President Mandela on his 95th birthday, let us also give tangible meaning to our feelings of concern by taking action on behalf of others”.
A statement signed by the United Nations Information Centre in Accra quoted Mr Ban as saying that Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice.
He said in marking the day, the United Nations joined the Mandela Foundation in asking people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July to community service.
“The heart of Nelson Mandela International Day is good works for people and the planet. Its theme – Take Action, Inspire Change – is meant to mobilize the human family to do more to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world”, the Secretary-General said.
He said this was the best tribute we could pay to an extraordinary man who embodied the highest values of humanity.
Mr Ban said: “At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Mandela, his family and with all the people of South Africa.
“We are united in admiration for a giant of our times,” he said.