I have the honour of making this intervention on behalf of Norway and Sweden. We would like to thank the distinguished panellist for their valuable inputs and would like to take this opportunity to add our voices.
Nelson Mandela would have turned a hundred years this year. His moral leadership is still a beacon, in a troubled world where fundamental values and the rules-based international order are often challenged. Mandela said that "the common ground is greater and more enduring than the differences that divide". This is more true than ever, and through dialogue we must strive to bridge the divides, between diverging ideas as well as societies, in order to shape a common future.
Today, we are gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Mandela in the context of promoting and protecting human rights. I am proud of the longstanding contacts and strong cooperation between Sweden, Norway and South Africa. Our countries share a joint history since the struggle against apartheid and our commitment to human rights and peace and security continues. For Sweden, these commitments permeate our endeavours as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. For Norway and Sweden, these commitments form a basis for our cooperation with South Africa and the African Union to ensure women’s participation and influence in all mediation, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.
As we meet here today to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela, we also remember this day 24 years ago, when Mandela and millions of South Africans could cast their votes for the first time in a representative democratic election. Another remarkable contribution by Nelson Mandela was the South African Constitution, considered by many as one of the most advanced in the world. The adoption of the constitution was one of the turning points in the history of the struggle for democracy.
Nelson Mandela’s inner strength and assiduous struggle for freedom, his commitment to peace, justice and human rights continues to be an inspiration and his legacy will continue to accompany us.