Nelson Mandela: we mourn

Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall.
Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall.
Nelson Mandela, whose life was dedicated to combating discrimination in any form, has died at the age of 95 but his legacy will live on, giving strength to people all over the world in their struggle against prejudice and intolerance.

We take leave of a man who spent his life battling against the discrimination of all those people who were sentenced to poverty and exclusion simply on the basis of their skin colour. His strength and determination, but also his unceasing calls for tolerance and forgiveness, have been an example to all those organisations and individuals working to eradicate racism and discrimination from our societies.

In the European Union, the Agency for Fundamental Rights is mandated to help safeguard the human rights of everyone living in the EU. One important aspect of this is to investigate the phenomenon of hate crime, which affects not just the victim but by creating an ‘us and them’ mentality, harms the group to which the victim belongs and indeed, society as a whole.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights clearly stipulates that discrimination on any ground, be it race, religion or sexual orientation, is prohibited. And that must be our aspiration – not just in Europe, but worldwide. Only in this way will we achieve the aim towards which Nelson Mandela spent his life working.

Morten Kjaerum
Director
EU Agency for Fundamental Rights