STATEMENT BY THE HON. CARL B. GREENIDGE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA AT THE NELSON MANDELA PEACE SUMMIT
Guyana commends the organizing of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. The Summit avails the international community the opportunity to reflect on global peace in tribute to the centennial celebration and legacy of the inimitable Nelson Mandela.
The central organizing objective of the United Nations, enshrined in its Charter, is that “we the peoples” resolve to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. It is therefore both timely and appropriate as world leaders gather for the 73rd General Assembly Session, and in the face of persistent and increasing challenges to our resolve to make the world a better place, that this Peace Summit has been convened as a fitting reminder and inspiration of this our guiding pursuit.
It is clear, of course, that the peace we together seek is more than the absence of war. It is premised on the security of the people, the security of nation states and building at all levels, frameworks and institutions such as the United Nations that will unremittingly pursue the realization of this objective. The life and work of Nelson Mandela provide stirring examples in all these dimensions.
His experience as a political prisoner for many years made him a tireless champion for the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. Mandela’s life was based on a “profound certainty that there are no differences that justify discrimination, violence, abuse or oppression.” Instead he believed in a viable path of cohesion and unity. It is therefore no coincidence that the basic standards for the humane treatment of prisoners bear the name – the Mandela Principles.
At the level of his country, Mandela led with integrity and dismantled structures that entrenched inequality. Beyond that, he modelled and instituted a process of national reconciliation that set the parameters of cohesion, justice and development. As a leader of standing in the international community, he contributed to the building of global institutions through his dedication to advancing the values and aspirations of the United Nations through the promotion of conflict resolution, human rights, and equality.
South Africa’s decision to voluntarily relinquish nuclear weapons is one that has set a high bar of efficacious action in the pursuit of peace. Together, these contributions reserve a singular place for Nelson Mandela as one whose name can with credit bear the message of the commitment to peace. The designation of Nelson Mandela Day is therefore a fitting reminder of the objective and ongoing work to achieve global peace.
Nelson Mandela has shown us that it is necessary for us to work for the peace that we want. Progress is not possible without sacrifice, patience, diligence and a broadness of spirit that embraces forgiveness, reconciliation and new beginnings. Equally, enlightened and determined actions are required from individuals, from nations and from us together as an international community. In this regard, we cannot rest while abuse, violence and discrimination are rampant. We must also eliminate the implements of warfare that cause suffering, insecurity and fear among the peoples of the world.
Our efforts to eradicate poverty in all its forms and to empower men, women, youths and the marginalized to reach their full potential must be accelerated. These are all dimensions and facets of our work for peace. For this reason, we affirm the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs as a veritable mechanism to stimulate action in the cause for peace and to ensure that no one is left behind. In this regard, we share the view that there can be no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace.
Global peace far too often is cast as an elusive dream. And for many and too often it continues to be. The life of Madiba provides persuasive confirmation of the efficacy of the contribution of consistent and principled efforts to the pursuit of peace at all levels. To this end, Guyana fully endorses the Political Declaration of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit and renews its commitment to the creation of a peaceful and cohesive society and a world in which peace, and its pursuit, prevails. I thank you.