Prince Harry calls out ‘rolling back of constitutional rights in US’ in UN speech marking Nelson Mandela Day

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·2-min read
Prince Harry calls out ‘rolling back of constitutional rights in US’ in UN speech marking Nelson Mandela Day
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Prince Harry has called out the United States Supreme Court for “rolling back constitutional rights” during his speech to the United Nations (UN) Assembly at its headquarters in New York.

The Duke of Sussex was invited to speak to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. He fondly spoke of a photo hanging up on his wall of his mother, Princess Diana, meeting the South African anti-apartheid activist in Cape Town shortly before she died.

The photo was gifted to him by Desmond Tutu, Prince Harry said, whom met his son, Archie, when he was four months old during the 2019 royal tour.

Prince Harry told a small crowd of delegates: “Many of us feel battered, helpless, in face of seemingly endless streams of disasters and devestations.

“This has been a painful year in a painful decade.

“We’re living through a pandemic,... climate change wreaking havoc on our planet.

“The few weaponising lies and disinformation at the expense of many, and 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.”

Meghan and Harry at the UN headquarters in New York (REUTERS)
Meghan and Harry at the UN headquarters in New York (REUTERS)

He spoke of how “the consequences of decisions made by some of the most powerful in some of the wealthiest countries are being felt even more deeply across the continent of Africa”.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic, war and inflation have left Africa in a fuel and food crisis while facing the longest drought in close to half a century.

“This is a pivotal moment,” he urged world leaders.

“In this moment we have a choice to make, we can grow apatheti, succumb to anger, or we can do what Mandela did. We can find meaning and purpose in the struggle.”

Prince Harry was accompanied by his wife, Meghan Markle.

His speech comes weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in a decision that will hinder abortion rights for millions of women in the US.

In June, Meghan said men “need to be more vocal” over abortion rights in response to the US Supreme Court’s controversial decision to repeal Roe v Wade.

The 40-year-old mother of two said husband Prince Harry had a “gutteral” reaction to the news and revealed it has been a regularly topic of conversation in their household since last Friday’s announcement.

Speaking to Vogue magazine with author and activist Gloria Steinem and journalist Jessica Yellin, Meghan said: “Men need to be vocal in this moment and beyond because these are decisions that affect relationships, families, and communities at large.

“They may target women, but the consequences impact all of us.”

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