The Duke of Sussex 37-year-old British royal family member delivered a fiery address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday to mark Nelson Mandela Day.
“This has been a painful year in a painful decade,” Prince Harry addressed.
He cited the continuing fallout from the pandemic, climate change, disinformation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before alluding to the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of America’s nationwide right to abortion.
“And from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela’s life,” Harry said.
The royal 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 only a man of conscience” but “a man of action.”
Harry, 37, invoked that sentiment to urge leaders to tackle climate change. “As we sit here today, our world is on fire again,” said the prince, adding that “historic weather events are no longer historic.”
“More and more, they are part of our daily lives. And this crisis will only grow worse unless our leaders lead. Unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions, the daring, transformative decisions that our world needs to save humanity,” he further added.
The General Assembly designated July 18, Mandela’s birthday, Nelson Mandela Day in 2009 to honor Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.