22 March 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Says Namibia’s Independence 20 Years Ago ‘Beacon of Hope

for Oppressed Peoples Everywhere’, in Message to Commemorative Event

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of Namibia’s independence and presidential inauguration, delivered by Kari Egge, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Namibia, on 21 March:

Twenty years ago today, the United Nations Secretary-General administered the oath of office to the first President of an independent Namibia.  The United Nations was with Namibia through the decades when this country had no place on official maps -- only a permanent home in the hearts of the Namibian people.  Today, the United Nations takes great pride in your growth and holds great expectations for your future.

The struggle against apartheid and colonialism was not just one for the people of Namibia, it was a universal fight against the evils of racism and injustice.  And Namibia’s independence was not just a triumph for this country -- it was a beacon of hope for oppressed peoples everywhere.

The United Nations cheered with Namibia on this day 20 years ago.  You could hear our applause reverberating throughout southern Africa, across this great continent and beyond.   Namibia was more than just a newly independent country; Namibia was proof that the promises of the United Nations Charter were not just words on paper -- they were commitments to be met.

When you gained independence two decades ago, the United Nations stood with you as you worked to redress disparities and build a democratic society.  And the United Nations stands with you now as you reach towards the Millennium Development Goals.

I congratulate President [Hifikepunye] Pohamba on your re-election, and I pledge our continued support.

Twenty years ago today, the United Nations concluded its most historic mission in Namibia.  Today, Namibia contributes its own experts, troops and police to a half dozen United Nations missions around the world.  Then, Namibia was a promise kept.  Now, Namibia is a shining example of progress.  I am confident that Namibia will continue to inspire the world even more.

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For information media • not an official record