Category Archives: Message

Secretary-General’s message on World Health Day

On this World Health Day, we highlight the inequalities and injustices of our health systems.

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed how unequal our societies are.

Within countries, illness and death from COVID-19 has been higher among people and communities that contend with poverty, unfavourable living and working conditions, discrimination and social exclusion. Continue reading

Secretary-General’s message on the International Day to Combat Islamophobia

I thank the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for your timely focus on tackling the global challenge of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination.

Just days ago, a report to the Human Rights Council found that suspicion, discrimination and outright hatred towards Muslims has risen to “epidemic proportions”.    Continue reading

Secretary-General’s message on International Women’s Day

The COVID-19 pandemic has erased decades of progress towards gender equality.

From high job losses to exploding burdens of unpaid care, from disrupted schooling to an escalating crisis of domestic violence and exploitation, women’s lives have been upended and their rights eroded.

Mothers – especially single mothers – have faced acute anxiety and adversity.

The consequences will far outlast the pandemic. Continue reading

Secretary-General’s video message to Human Rights Council Panel on the Fight Against Racism and Discrimination 20 years after the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome your focus and discussion on the fight against racism and discrimination two decades after the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action.

As I said in my address to the Human Rights Council this morning, the rot of racism is corroding institutions, social structures and everyday life.

We must do far more to address this scourge.  I welcome the efforts of the Human Rights Council to do just that.

Racism and discrimination are the rejection of all that we stand for. Continue reading

Secretary-General message upon receipt of the Human Fraternity Award

It is an honour to receive the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.  I know this is also recognition of the work of the United Nations to advance peace and human dignity every day and everywhere.

I also congratulate this year’s other awardee, Latifa Ibn Ziaten of France.  Her dedicated efforts to support young people and promote mutual understanding, arising out of immense personal tragedy, have won admirers at home and beyond.

Discrimination, racism and extremist violence are surging across the globe.

As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate emergency and threats to peace, unity and solidarity are more important than ever. There must be no room for hatred in the future we are striving to build.

That is also very much the spirit of the pathbreaking efforts of His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb to advance inter-faith dialogue and promote our common humanity.

This award will inspire us as we continue that vital work.

In that spirit, I have decided to donate the prize money — $500,000 — to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to buttress its indispensable efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family – the forcibly displaced.

Thank you again for this recognition.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

03 February 2021

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary General – on Myanmar

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the detention of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other political leaders on the eve of the opening session of Myanmar’s new Parliament.  He expresses his grave concern regarding the declaration of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military.  These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.

The 8 November 2020 general elections provide a strong mandate to the National League for Democracy (NLD), reflecting the clear will of the people of Myanmar to continue on the hard-won path of democratic reform.  The Secretary-General urges the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar and adhere to democratic norms, with any differences to be resolved through peaceful dialogue. All leaders must act in the greater interest of Myanmar’s democratic reform, engaging in meaningful dialogue, refraining from violence and fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Secretary-General reaffirms the unwavering support of the United Nations to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

New York, 31 January 2021

Secretary-General’s remarks to the COP26 Roundtable on Clean Power Transition

Excellencies, dear friends,

I am very pleased to join you.

The year ahead is going to be critical, not only in beating the COVID-19 pandemic, but in meeting the climate challenge.

The central objective of the United Nations this year is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. Continue reading

Secretary-General’s New Year’s message 2021

Dear Friends,

2020 has been a year of trials, tragedies and tears.

COVID-19 upended our lives and plunged the world into suffering and grief.

So many loved ones have been lost — and the pandemic rages on, creating new waves of sickness and death.

Poverty, inequality and hunger are rising. Jobs are disappearing and debts are mounting. Children are struggling.

Violence in the home is increasing, and insecurity is everywhere.

But a New Year lies ahead. And with it, we see rays of hope: Continue reading

Secretary-General’s message on the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

This first observance of the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness falls at the end of a year in which a scenario many had feared came tragically true.

With COVID-19 having now killed more than 1.7 million people, devastated economies, upended societies and exposed the world’s vulnerabilities in the starkest ways, the value of health emergency preparedness has hit home like never before.  As we strive to control and recover from the current pandemic, we must think about the next.  Unfortunately, it is easy to imagine a virus just as infectious but even more lethal. Continue reading