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Nelson Mandela Day

Message from UNICRI Director on Nelson Mandela Day


Today we remember Nelson Mandela, an icon whose immense contribution to social justice and the culture of peace and freedom still shape our world.

Mandela’s values are at the heart of our fight for a more peaceful, just, equitable, and humane world, free from strife and conflict. These tenets also form the core of UNICRI’s work.

As a United Nations research and training institute, we advance justice, crime prevention, security, and the rule of law in support of peace, sustainable development, and human rights.  We do this through action-oriented research, training, and capacity building.

Today, we particularly recall Madiba’s contribution to the rule of law through the Nelson Mandela Rules, which guide our criminal justice work in the prison sector across the globe.

For example, UNICRI is working with Japan to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence and new technologies to rehabilitate prisoners.  We are also strengthening the prisoner classification system in the Central African Republic. 

In Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya, we supported National Action Plans in juvenile justice systems to foster crime prevention. UNICRI also empowers youth in multiple post-conflict settings and promotes positive alternatives to incitement to violence and terrorist radicalization.

Ten years after his death and halfway into the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, let’s continue to reflect on his legacy and uphold his values to promote peace, reconciliation, and cultural diversity. This Nelson Mandela International Day, play your part, take action, and make an impact. 


Nelson Mandela Day is marked annually on 18 July. The day celebrates and promotes Mandela’s values and dedication to conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation, gender equality, the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the fight against poverty and the promotion of social justice. Mandela Day has been, and remains, focused on public service, as per Nelson Mandela’s wish. Every year since 2010, individuals around the world are encouraged to take action and inspire change by devoting time to community service on 18 July.