The #WalkTogether campaign celebrates and takes inspiration from the Freedoms to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life and work, as a source of hope. We all have a role to play in fighting for these freedoms, whether we do so by working with others in our communities, or on a larger scale in our cities and countries. Learn more about the Freedoms for Peace, Health, Justice and Equality, be inspired by Sparks of Hope working for these freedoms today and get involved by supporting the #WalkTogether campaign partners.
Freedom for Peace
Peace is the essential freedom, from which all others flow. When peace is absent, the most fundamental of human rights are denied: the rights to safety, dignity, protection and self-expression. Identity itself can be erased by the lack of peace.
In today’s world, 700 million children – equivalent to the total population of Europe – have had their childhood prematurely ended because conflict and its toxic consequences of disease, poverty and exclusion have forced them into a desperate struggle for survival. Their development has been thwarted – this is a denial of their freedom to realize their ambitions and aspirations. Every liberation struggle entails challenging moral questions about tactics, means and ends. But peace must be the end goal.
The legacy of Nelson Mandela and his example of magnanimity, empathy, truth and reconciliation must be at the heart of every struggle for freedom, now and in the future. If Freedom for Peace is to be achieved then we all must rise above our narrow concerns and embrace the common humanity that binds us all together from the cradle to the grave. The is the goal and the action at the heart of #WalkTogether.
Freedom for Health
Our world cannot prosper if people continue to suffer from preventable conditions and diseases because they lack the resources to access adequate treatment. Yet currently, hundreds of millions of people around the world are currently denied necessary health services or are plunged into poverty because they are forced to pay unaffordable fees for their care.
This burden is particularly felt by women, children and adolescents, who often have high needs for healthcare but least access to financial resources.
The ambition to live in security, the idea behind Universal Health Coverage, is timeless. Across the #WalkTogether campaign, The Elders will push for freedom for health for every child, woman, man and family, in place of fear and in step with progress.
Freedom for Justice
From the Magna Carta via the American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of impartiality and equality before the law remain a powerful bulwark against tyranny.
It is no surprise that Nelson Mandela and other admired leaders of the past, like Mahatma Ghandi were lawyers who advocated for justice. Their legacies prove that even when political ideologies distort the institutions that are designed to protect rights, the impulse for true justice can never be crushed and there will always be brave women and men determined to fight for its realization. Justice takes many forms and lies at the heart not only of harmonious human communities.
Justice is also at the heart of the laws governing our relationship with Mother Nature, for example, how we use natural resources that belong to all, and how we protect those people most impacted by (and least responsible for) climate change. During the coming year, #WalkTogether will highlight the long walk to Freedom for justice being taken
Freedom for Equality
Real equality means men and women, people of all nationalities, races and creeds are treated exactly the same and enjoy exactly the same rights: in the public sphere, in the eyes of the law, in the democratic process and in their interaction with institutions from schools and hospitals to courts, businesses and governments. Similarly, any individual’s sexual orientation ought to be respected under the law.
Respect for religious traditions must live alongside the principle of equality for every individual in any society. Nelson Mandela personally stood in solidarity with the victims of AIDS in South Africa, including minority sexual groups, and challenged the ugly impulses of bigotry and discrimination.
We have come a long way on equality laws and practices in many parts of the world, but we need more. Today, many of the hard-won freedoms and the strides forward in Freedom for Equality are being eroded. We can pursue Freedom for Equality together – it starts with each of us being willing to #WalkTogether with someone who is different from us.