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A tribute to Nelson Mandela

06-12-2013 Statement

Statement on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela by ICRC president Peter Maurer.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing on 5 December of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95. On behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross, I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Madiba – his Xhosa clan name – will remain in our minds as the most gracious, altruistic, caring and committed of men.

Mr Mandela was justly revered for his dedication to peaceful change and to respect for the rule of law. His abhorrence of injustice formed the basis of his efforts to resolve conflicts without vengeance or bloodshed, and of his support for moderate policies in post-apartheid South Africa.

The delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross who visited Mr Mandela from 1967 to 1986, first on Robben Island, then in Pollsmoor Prison after his transfer there in 1982, were struck by his fortitude and determination, and by his eagerness to help his fellow inmates.

Mr Mandela will be remembered not only for his many services to the people of South Africa but as an example for the entire world.

Peter Maurer, ICRC president