On 18 July, UNIC Canberra together with the South African High Commission and St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn celebrated Nelson Mandela Day. This year marked the Centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
The event was celebrated with an afternoon tea at the High Commission, to recognise and thank St. Vincent de Paul volunteers who were part of a night patrol team which provides outreach to people living on the streets in Canberra.
The UNIC Director gave a speech and read the UN Secretary-General’s message which was followed by speeches from the Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent de Paul Society Dr Barnie van Wyk and Her Excellency the South African High Commissioner Beryl Sisulu.
Prior to the day UNIC Canberra and the High Commission sent out a letter to all the diplomatic community asking for donations to a Winter Donation Drive. The goods such as coats, blankets, sleeping bags and sanitary packs will be donated to St Vincent de Paul Society.
On 18 July 2017, the United Nations Information Centre and the South African High Commission joined together to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day and devote 67 minutes of community service to the Baptist Aged Care Facility in Red Hill, Canberra.
The event was opened by UNIC Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe, who explained the significance of the 67 minutes – one minute for every year of Mr Mandela’s public service. This was followed by the reading of a message from the UN Secretary-General and then a film about the life of Nelson Mandela.
Mr Christopher Woodthorpe (left), High Commissioner Ms Beryl Sisulu (centre), with colleagues from the South African High Commission
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
Every year on 18 July — Nelson Mandela’s birthday — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
Let’s mark Mandela Day by Adopting a Minimum Set of Human Rights for Millions of Detainees
GENEVA / KAMPALA / STRASBOURG / WASHINGTON DC (15 July 2016) – Speaking ahead of Nelson Mandela International Day, a group of leading human rights experts have called on all States around the world to implement without delay the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: the Nelson Mandela Rules.
The Rules represent a universally accepted minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners, conditions of detention and prison management, and offer essential practical guidance to prison administrations.
“Speedy and decisive steps towards implementation would truly honour the legacy of the great Statesman and inspirational leader Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez; the Special Rapporteur on prisons, conditions of detention and policing in Africa, Med Kaggwa; the Rapporteur on the rights of persons deprived of liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, James Cavallaro; and the Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, in an open statement* issued today.
“Their implementation in prisons around the world would significantly improve the treatment of millions of detainees,” the experts stated. “At the same time, it is useful guidance to help prison staff deliver their important and difficult task in a professional and effective way, benefiting society at large.”