Category Archives: Secretary Generals Messages

SG’s messages as and when they are available. Usually posted on the day of the concerned observance or activity.

UN Secretary Generals Message on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

11 February 2019

Skills in science, technology, engineering and math drive innovation and are critical to achieving

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

the Sustainable Development Goals. Women and girls are vital in all these areas. Yet they remain woefully under-represented. Gender stereotypes, a lack of visible role models and unsupportive or even hostile policies and environments can keep them from pursuing these careers.

The world cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half our population. We need concerted efforts to overcome these obstacles.

We must tackle misconceptions about girls’ abilities.

We must promote access to learning opportunities for women and girls, particularly in rural areas.

And we must do more to change workplace culture so that girls who dream of being scientists, engineers and mathematicians can enjoy fulfilling careers in these fields.

Let us ensure that every girl, everywhere, has the opportunity to realize her dreams, grow into her power and contribute to a sustainable future for all.

Message in other UN official languages: ArabicChineseFrenchRussian,Spanish.

The UN Secretary General- Message on The International Day of Zero Tolerance For Female Genital Mutilation

6 February 2019

Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent human rights violation affecting women and girls

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

around the world. It denies them their dignity, endangers their health and causes needless pain and suffering, even death.

Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances– and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realize their rights and full potential. An estimated 200 million women and girls alive today have been subject to this harmful practice. And every year, almost 4 million girls are at risk.

The Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030. The United Nations joins hands with global, regional and national actors in supporting holistic and integrated initiatives to achieve this objective. Tackling FGM is also a central part of our efforts in the Spotlight Initiative, launched in partnership with the European Union to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

With strong political commitment, we are seeing positive change in several countries. However, if current trends persist, these advances will continue to be outpaced by rapid population growth where the practice is concentrated.

On this Day of Zero Tolerance, I call for increased, concerted and global action to end female genital mutilation and fully uphold the human rights of all women and girls.

Message in other UN official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian,Spanish.

More information

UN Secretary-General’s remarks at UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

New York, 28 January 2019

[as delivered]

We are here together to remember the victims of the Holocaust – the six million Jews and many

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

others murdered during a period of unprecedented, calculated cruelty, when human dignity was cast aside for a racial ideology.

I extend a special welcome to the Holocaust survivors with us today, especially Mr. Marian Turski and Ms. Inge Auerbacher, who will share their testimony.

This International Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp 74 years ago yesterday. I also pay tribute to the veterans here today for their role in bringing the war and Holocaust to an end.

Yesterday was, by the way, also the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad.  That prolonged the blockade — 872 days of siege, starvation and suffering – that was a horror within the horror.

As we remember, we also reaffirm our resolve to fight the hatred that still plagues our world today.

In fact, it is necessary – more and more – that we sound an alarm.

It is just three months since a man armed to the teeth entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh shouting “all Jews must die”.

He murdered 11 worshippers observing Shabbat.

It was the worst anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States.

Last month at a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg, in France, vandals smeared swastikas on dozens of tombstones and defaced a monument to Holocaust victims.

And just days ago in Bulgaria, stones were thrown through the window of Sofia’s central synagogue.

I would like to be able to say that these incidents were aberrations, or that they are only the last gasps of a prejudice that deserves to die.

But sadly, what we are instead seeing is the flame of a centuries-old fire gaining in intensity.

Not only is anti-Semitism still strong – it is getting worse.

We must rise up against rising anti-Semitism.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by 57 per cent in 2017.

The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency reported last year that 28 per cent of Jews had experienced some form of harassment just for being Jewish.  Many added that fears for their safety have led them to stay away from Jewish events – or even to contemplate emigrating.

Another poll in Europe by CNN revealed the strong persistence of classic anti-Semitic motifs.

In fact, the old anti-Semitism is back.

At the same time, we are seeing attempts to rewrite the history of the Holocaust, to distort its magnitude and to sanitize the wartime records of leaders, citizens and societies.

Meanwhile, neo-Nazi groups are proliferating.

A recent Public Broadcasting System Frontline programme conducted an in-depth exploration of one of the extremist and white supremacist organizations in the United States that promote hatred against Jews, and also other minorities, homosexuals and others.

Their views are right out of “Mein Kampf”.  They have, by the way, a similar book written by their leader.

Their recruitment methods target the disaffected.

They seek out people with military experience – and encourage sympathizers to join the armed forces to gain weapons training.

And the massacre in Pittsburgh was precisely in keeping with their advocacy of violent, so-called “lone wolf” attacks.

Inevitably, where there is anti-Semitism, no one else is safe.  Across the world, we are seeing a disturbing rise in other forms of bigotry.

Attacks on Muslims in several societies are on the rise, sometimes even outpacing other forms of hatred.

Rohingyas, Yazidis and many others have faced persecution simply for who they are.

Intolerance today spreads at lightning speed across the Internet and social media.

Perhaps most disturbingly, hate is moving into the mainstream – in liberal democracies and authoritarian systems alike.

We have seen this throughout the debate on human mobility, which has featured a stream of invective, falsely linking refugees and migrants to terrorism and scapegoating them for many of society’s ills.

Major political parties are incorporating ideas from the fringes in their propaganda and electoral campaigns.

Parties once rightly considered pariahs are gaining influence over governments.

And where once some political figures used the so-called “dog whistle” to signal their followers, today they also feel able to trumpet their noxious views for all to hear.

Political discourse is being coarsened.

And with each broken norm, the pillars of humanity are weakened.

That is part of what Hannah Arendt identified as the path towards totalitarianism.

We should not exaggerate the comparisons to the 1930s.

But equally let us not ignore the similarities.

We see some societies wanting to turn back the clock on diversity.

Political establishments have a profound and growing trust deficit.

The demonization of others rages on.

Such hatred is easy to uncork, and very hard to put back in the bottle.

One urgent challenge today is to heed the lessons of history and the Holocaust.

First, by keeping memory alive.

A recent poll in Europe found that one third of people say they know little or nothing about the Holocaust.

Among millennials, some two-thirds had no idea Auschwitz was a death camp.

As the number of survivors dwindles, it falls to us all to carry their testimony to future generations.  This is our duty and we must make sure that what the memory of survivors is able to tell will persist forever.

Education is crucial – about the Holocaust, about genocide and crimes against humanity, about racism and the history of slavery.

The United Nations and the Holocaust Outreach Programme has activities in dozens of countries, and we are strongly committed to expanding its reach.

And, we must stand up to those who disseminate hatred.

I have asked my Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to assess the efforts of the UN system in countering hate speech and to devise a global plan of action to deepen this essential work.

We had, just last Saturday in Park East Synagogue, a very moving testimony from Rabbi Schneier proposing that we should gather Ministers of Education all over the world to make sure that in schools these questions are clearly introduced in the curricula and that students will never be able to deny these facts.

Because indeed, countering hate speech is essential to preventing hate crimes.

That means rejecting hate in schools and workplaces, at sporting events and on the street.

And it means reaffirming universal values and equal rights.

Finally, we must bring those rights to life.

Proclaiming principles is not enough.

Vilifying the violators is not enough.

We must go further by working for a fair globalization, by building democratic societies, and by addressing the roots of the anxieties and angers that make people susceptible to populism and demagoguery.

Governments and international organizations must show they care and make rights real in the lives of all.

One of the great shocks of the Second World War was how a society of such high attainment proved so ripe for Hitler’s venom.

In his diaries of the years from 1933 to 1945, Victor Klemperer wrote, and I quote:

“Curious: At the very moment modern technology annuls all frontiers and distances…, the most extreme nationalism is raging.”  This was said in the ‘30s.

We are not immune to the same risks today.

Our response must be clear: to strengthen all we do to build the defences, the laws and the mindsets that will uphold the dignity of all, for all time, having the fight against anti-semitism in the front lines.

Thank you very much.

 

United Nations Secretary Generals Message on International Day Of Education

Today we celebrate the first International Day of Education.

Education transforms lives. As United Nations Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai once said: “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. Nelson Mandela rightly called education “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Long before I served at the United Nations or held public office in my own country, I was a teacher. In the slums of Lisbon, I saw that education is an engine for poverty eradication and a force for peace.

Today, education is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.

We need education to reduce inequalities and improve health.

We need education to achieve gender equality and eliminate child marriage.

We need education to protect our planet’s resources.

And we need education to fight hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance, and to nurture global citizenship.

Yet at least 262 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school, most of them girls.  Millions more who attend school are not mastering the basics.

This is a violation of their human right to education. The world cannot afford a generation of children and young people who lack the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy, nor can we afford to leave behind half of humanity.

We must do far more to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education can also break and reverse cycles of intergenerational poverty. Studies show that if all girls and boys complete secondary education, 420 million people could be lifted out of poverty.

Let us prioritize education as a public good; support it with cooperation, partnerships and funding; and recognize that leaving no one behind starts with education.

 

 

The Secretary General’s Written Message on International Womens Day- March 8 2017

Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.

Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.

Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined.  Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.

Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.

Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.

Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

When women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies.

Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges we face. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and this is central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs.

I am committed to increasing women’s participation in our peace and security work. Women negotiators increase the chances of sustainable peace, and women peacekeepers decrease the chances of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Within the UN, I am establishing a clear road map with benchmarks to achieve gender parity across the system, so that our Organization truly represents the people we serve.  Previous targets have not been met. Now we must move from ambition to action.

On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres Appeal for Peace

January 1 2017

The UN Secretary-General  Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:

Let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…

Peace must be our goal and our guide.

All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.

But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

Thank you.

 

 

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION 6 February 2015

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation, I join my United Nations colleagues in calling upon health workers around the world to eliminate this deeply harmful practice.

Secretary General Pic

UN Secretary General, Ban Kimoon

The medical community’s active support for the rights of girls and women to be protected from FGM has been critical in achieving the renewed commitments of Member States as reflected in the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution on this issue.

Health systems and health professionals are essential to the wellbeing of societies. They provide credible, scientific and unbiased information that can help people protect themselves from violations of their rights.

I am truly inspired by actions already being taken by health professionals, such as the Mauritanian Association of Midwives, which refuses to practice female genital mutilation and actively promotes the abandonment of the practice as the result of support from the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on female genital mutilation/cutting.

We must also ensure that parents do not seek to bypass health workers in finding alternative methods of subjecting their daughters to FGM.

If everyone is mobilized, women, men and young people, it is possible, in this generation, to end a practice that currently affects some 130 million girls and women in the 29 countries where we have data.

Change is coming from within the communities. Breaking the silence and disproving the myths around FGM are the first steps along the way to eliminating it altogether.

On this International Day, I call for all people and partners to end FGM and create the future we want where every girl can grow up free of violence and discrimination, with full dignity, human rights and equality.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 December 2014

 

On Human Rights Day we speak out.

We d365 Human Rights_logo_final_CMYK_ENenounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group.

We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.

This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress.

The United Nations protects human rights because that is our proud mission – and because when people enjoy their rights, economies flourish and countries are at peace.

Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.

The UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative aims to heed those alarms. We are rallying in response to violations – before they degenerate into mass atrocities or war crimes.

Everyone can advance the struggle against injustice, intolerance and extremism.

I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account. And I call for special protections for the human rights defenders who courageously serve our collective cause.

Let us respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all.

THE SECRETARY- GENERAL — MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY 9 December 2014

 

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Corruption is a global phenomenon that strikes hardest at the poor, hinders inclusive economic growth and robs essential services of badly needed funds. From cradle to grave, millions are touched by corruption’s shadow.

On this year’s observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day, we call again on people everywhere to get involved in “Breaking the Corruption Chain”.

Next year the world will agree a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Our aim is to empower individuals and catalyse governments, the private sector and civil society to help lift millions out of poverty, protect the planet and achieve shared prosperity and dignity for all. Eliminating corruption and its harmful impacts will be crucial to our future well-being.

To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measures in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery have made important inroads, but there is much more to do. Public services must uphold the highest standards of integrity and ensure that appointments are driven by merit. Public servants, as well as elected officials, must be guided by ethics, transparency and accountability.

The private sector also has a crucial role. Good behaviour is good business. Business groups can convert anti-corruption action into firm support for sustainable development.

I call on everyone to help end corruption, and come together for global fairness and equity. The world and its people can no longer afford, nor tolerate, corruption.

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY 5 December 2014

An ambulance rushes a wounded child to a hospital. A hungry family receives a warm meal. A battered woman finds free shelter. In scenes of human suffering around the world, hope comes thanks to volunteers who give their time, skills and resources to others in need.

International Volunteer Day is a chance to thank the many individuals who act with this spirit ofIVD 2014 giving, and to encourage others to follow their example. When an earthquake destroys homes, volunteers prove that human solidarity is shatterproof. When looters aim for cultural property, volunteers safeguard community treasures. When development is lagging, volunteers help enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.

The humane impulse to assist and empower others that motivates volunteers rebounds back to them in the form of an enriched life. Volunteers offer life skills while expanding their own know-how; they empower communities while earning a sense of personal fulfilment at having made a difference in our world.

This year’s International Volunteer Day takes on special significance as the United Nations prepares to shape a new vision for sustainable development and a new universal climate agreement, both to be adopted next year. I thank the more than 6,300 UN Volunteers and 11,000 UN Online Volunteers who helped millions of people to make change happen by giving them a voice in sustainable development and peace efforts across the globe.

I also pay special tribute to the many volunteers responding to the Ebola crisis. UN volunteers and their counterparts are helping to address the outbreak through prevention, awareness-raising and treatment activities. Their assistance is particularly important as we battle misconceptions about the disease and strive to show compassion for all those who are affected.

On this International Volunteer Day, let us be inspired by the many individuals who selflessly serve others, and let us resolve to do our part to contribute, freely and proactively, to change conditions now towards a better future for all.