Global democracy and freedom under attack, Prince Harry tells UN
UNITED NATIONS, US – Britain’s Prince Harry told the UN on Monday that the overthrow of constitutional rights in the United States was part of “a global attack on democracy and freedom.”
The Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York at an event to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
“It has been a painful year in a painful decade,” the royal told delegates.
He cited the continued fallout from the pandemic, climate change, misinformation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before alluding to the Supreme Court’s recent strike down of the US national abortion right.
“And from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rollback of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global attack on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela’s life,” Harry said.
The King paid tribute to Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero who spent 27 years in prison before being elected the country’s first black leader, as “not just a man of conscience” but “a man of ‘stock”.
Harry, 37, invoked that sentiment to urge leaders to tackle climate change, as his wife Meghan Markle watched from the bedroom.
“As we sit here today, our world is on fire again,” the prince said, adding that “historic weather events are no longer historic.”
“Increasingly, they are part of our daily lives. And this crisis will only get worse if our leaders don’t lead.
“Unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions, the bold and transformative decisions that our world needs to save humanity,” he added.
The General Assembly designated July 18, Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela Day in 2009 to honor his life and legacy.
Assembly Speaker Abdulla Shahid and New York City Mayor Eric Adams were among other delegates to deliver speeches.
In a personal moment, Harry said a picture of his mother, Princess Diana, with Mandela was “on my wall and in my heart every day”.
It was taken in Cape Town in 1997, a few months before Diana died in a car accident in Paris.
“When I first looked at the photo, what immediately jumped out at me was the joy on my mother’s face. The playfulness, the cheekiness even, the sheer delight of being in communion with another soul so committed to the service of humanity,” said Harry.