Category Archives: Secretary-General’s Messages and Activities

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION  IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION
IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST
27 January 2019

Dear friends,

Today we honour the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust – and the many other victims of unprecedented, calculated cruelty and horror.

This year’s observance falls amid an alarming increase in anti-Semitism.

From a deadly assault on a synagogue in the United States to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe, this centuries-old hatred is not only still strong – it is getting worse.

We see the proliferation of neo-Nazi groups, and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the Holocaust.

We see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the Internet.

As the Second World War recedes in time, and the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it falls to us to be ever vigilant.
And as the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, so memorably said: “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.

Indeed, we see intolerance entering mainstream politics — targeting minorities, Muslims, migrants and refugees, and exploiting the anger and anxiety of a changing world.

Now more than ever, let us unite in the fight for universal values and build a world of equality for all.

English subtitle

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/MSG+SG+Holocaust+Remembrance+18+JAN+19+EN.mp4

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION
24 January 2019Today 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6WbtGFe8xY

MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
18 December 2018

Migration is a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding. It allows millions of people to seek new opportunities, benefiting communities of origin and destination alike.

But when poorly regulated, migration can intensify divisions within and between societies, expose people to exploitation and abuse, and undermine faith in government.

This month, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the United Nations, the Compact will help us to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits.

The Compact is people-centered and rooted in human rights.

It points the way toward more legal opportunities for migration and stronger action to crack down on human trafficking.

On International Migrants Day, let us take the path provided by the Global Compact: to make migration work for all. 

MESSAGE ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
10 December 2018

For 70 years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a global beacon – shining a light for dignity, equality and well-being … and bringing hope to dark places.

The rights proclaimed in the Declaration apply to everyone — no matter our race, belief, location or other distinction of any kind.

Human rights are universal and eternal.

They are also indivisible. One cannot pick and choose among civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Today we also honour the human rights defenders risking their lives to protect people in the face of rising hatred, racism, intolerance and repression.

Indeed, human rights are under siege around the world.

Universal values are being eroded. The rule of law is being undermined.

Now more than ever, our shared duty is clear:

Let us stand up for human rights — for everyone, everywhere.

Thank you.

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY  OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY
OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
3 December 2018

More than 1 billion people in the world live with some form of disability. In many societies, persons with disabilities often end up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination.

In its pledge to leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a commitment to reducing inequality and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including people with disabilities. That means implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in all contexts and in all countries. It also means integrating the voices and concerns of people with disabilities into national agendas and policies.

Today, the United Nations is issuing the UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities. The Report shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals, but also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently.

On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realized. 

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY  FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY
FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
5 December 2018

There are approximately 1 billion volunteers across the globe, who dedicate their time, skills and passion to make the world a better place. They are often the first to act in moments of crisis. They create social bonds and give a voice to marginalized and vulnerable groups. And as the theme of this year’s observance highlights, they help build resilient communities, equipping people against natural disasters, political instability, economic shocks and other pressures.

In Malawi, UN volunteers have worked as interpreters, connecting refugees to institutions that provide assistance. In Sri Lanka, they have helped develop a project to empower women and youth to participate in peacebuilding efforts. In Tuvalu, UN volunteers have collaborated with the Ministry of Health to strengthen community safeguards against tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

The diverse and dynamic role of volunteerism in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals merits strong support from Governments and other stakeholders. On this International Day, I thank volunteers for their efforts to leave no one behind. 

MESSAGE ON THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONVENTION  ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE AND THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION AND DIGNITY  OF THE VICTIMS OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE  AND OF THE PREVENTION OF THIS CRIME 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONVENTION
ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE AND THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION AND DIGNITY
OF THE VICTIMS OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE
AND OF THE PREVENTION OF THIS CRIME
9 December 2018

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and Second World War, the world came together and adopted a convention to prevent genocide and punish those who commit this heinous crime.

Seventy years later, the prevention of genocide remains a cardinal task for our time.

That is why I launched an appeal for every country to ratify the Genocide Convention.

I urge the 45 remaining States to do so without delay.

And I call on all states to translate the Convention’s words into action to prevent massive human suffering and advance accountability.

At a time of rising anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of hatred, racism and xenophobia, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the equality and dignity of all.

Thank you.

MESSAGE ON WORLD AIDS DAY 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON WORLD AIDS DAY
1 December 2018

Thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.

More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness. Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new infections.

Yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition. New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient. Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations— including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants—and young women and adolescent girls. Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.

There is still time — to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma. At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now.

MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
New York, 29 November 2018

This year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People takes place at a time of turmoil, trouble and torment.
The decades-long Palestinian struggle for self-determination, independence and a life of dignity faces numerous obstacles, including: continued military occupation of Palestinian territory; ongoing violence and incitement; continued settlement construction and expansion; deep uncertainties about the peace process; and deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions, particularly in Gaza.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is providing indispensable services and needs our full support.
I urge Israel, Palestine and all others with influence to restore the promise and viability of the two-state solution premised on two states living side by side in peace, harmony and within secure and recognised borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both.
Let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and to building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike. 

THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR
THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
25 November 2018

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. It is a moral affront to all women and girls, a mark of shame on all our societies and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. At its core, violence against women and girls is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women. It is an issue of fundamental human rights.

Violence can take many forms — from domestic attacks to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict to child marriage, genital mutilation and femicide. It harms the individual and has far-reaching consequences for families and society. This is also a deeply political issue. Violence against women is tied to broader issues of power and control in our societies. We live in a male-dominated society. Women are made vulnerable to violence through the multiple ways in which we keep them unequal.

In the past year we have seen growing attention to one manifestation of this violence. Sexual harassment is experienced by most women at some point in their lives. Increasing public disclosure by women from all regions and all walks of life is bringing the magnitude of the problem to light and demonstrating the galvanizing power of women’s movements to drive the action and awareness needed to eliminate harassment and violence everywhere.

This year, the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting our support for survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo’. With orange as the unifying colour of solidarity, the #HearMeToohashtag is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play.

The same message resonates through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. This 500-million-euro programme will empower survivors and advocates to become agents of change in their homes, communities and countries. But while this initial investment is significant, it is small given the scale of need. It should be seen as seed funding for a global movement. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.