Category Archives: Secretary General’s Message

Secretary General’s Message on the International Day of Reflection: Genocide in Rwanda

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF 
REFLECTION ON THE GENOCIDE IN RWANDA
7 April 2016

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In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda.  The vast majority were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted.  On this Day, we remember all who perished in the genocide and renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever being repeated, anywhere in the world.

We should all be inspired by the survivors’ courage in showing that reconciliation is possible even after such a tragedy.  With the Great Lakes region still facing serious threats to peace and security, healing and reconstruction remain essential.

Honouring the victims of the genocide in Rwanda also means working for justice and accountability.  I commend United Nations Member States in the region and beyond for their continued efforts to arrest and hand over remaining fugitives and end impunity.  The best way to ensure that genocide and other egregious violations of human rights and international law can never occur again is to acknowledge shared responsibility and commit to shared action to protect those at risk. Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on International Women’s Day 2016

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

“FROM THE GLASS CEILING TO A CARPET OF SHARDS”

8 March 2016

pg8As a boy growing up in post-war Korea, I remember asking about a tradition I observed: women going into labour would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. “They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again,” my mother explained.

More than a half-century later, the memory continues to haunt me. In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished.

We can only address these problems by empowering women as agents of change. Continue reading

Statement by the Secretary General on the Death of Boutros Boutros – Ghali

STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

ON THE DEATH OF BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI

New York, 16 February 2016

I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The late Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was a respected statesman in the service of his country, Egypt. He was a well-known scholar of international law and brought formidable experience and intellectual power to the task of piloting the United Nations through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history, and guiding the Organization of the Francophonie in subsequent years.

As Secretary-General, he presided over a dramatic rise in UN peacekeeping. He also presided over a time when the world increasingly turned to the United Nations for solutions to its problems, in the immediate aftermath of the cold war.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali did much to shape the Organization’s response to this new era, in particular through his landmark report “An Agenda for Peace” and the subsequent agendas for development and democratization.  Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

6 February 2016

Never before has it been more urgent – or more possible – to end the practice of female genital mutilation, preventing immeasurable human suffering and boosting the power of women and girls to have a positive impact on our world.

The urgency can be seen in the numbers. New estimates reveal that in 2016 at least 200 million girls and women alive now have undergone some form of FGM. The numbers keep growing both because more countries are paying attention to FGM and collecting data – which represents good progress– and because progress in ending the practice is not keeping pace with population growth – which is not at all good. If current trends continue, more girls will be cut every year by 2030 than today owing to high fertility rates and youthful populations found in most communities where FGM is prevalent. And since the practice increases risks in childbirth, it causes harm to today’s girls as well as the next generation. Continue reading

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON WORLD CANCER DAY

4 February 2016

World Cancer Day, always an opportunity to rally the world, has special impetus this year thanks to the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to usher in a life of dignity for all people.

The Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by all governments call for reducing by one third premature death from non-communicable diseases. This builds on an historic commitment made in 2011 by Heads of State. We are also guided by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and the Every Woman Every Child movement behind it, which are working for stronger health systems, universal health care coverage and scaling up of life-saving interventions for comprehensive cancer prevention and control.

We must do more to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts. About one third of cancers can be prevented, while others are curable if diagnosed and treated early. And even when cancer is advanced, patients should benefit from palliative care. Continue reading

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

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Secretary-General’s Message for 2016

During the Second World War, six million Jews were systematically rounded up and exterminated.  The Nazis also murdered Sinti and Roma, political prisoners, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Soviet prisoners of war.

The Holocaust was a colossal crime.  No-one can deny the evidence that it happened.  By remembering the victims and honouring the courage of the survivors and those who assisted and liberated them, we annually renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities and reject the hateful mentality that allows them.

From the shadow of the Holocaust and the cruelties of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of every person and to uphold the rights of all to live in equality and free from discrimination. Continue reading

#COP21 closing remarks of the Secretary General

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS AT CLOSING OF COP21

Paris, 12 December 2015

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends/speaks at Opening of High-Level Segment of COP21.

Mesdames, Messieurs,

All my congratulations.

The Paris Agreement on climate change is a monumental triumph for people and planet

I know I speak for everyone in this room in applauding COP21 President Laurent Fabius and UNFCCC Executive-Secretary Christiana Figueres for their outstanding stewardship of these negotiations.

In the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time.

That is why I have made it one of the defining priorities of my tenure as Secretary-General.

Over the past nine years, I have spoken repeatedly with nearly every world leader.

I have visited the climate front lines, from the Arctic to Antarctica and to the Amazon, from the Sahel to the Aral Sea.

I have been to Pacific Islands that are sinking under the waves.

Most of all, I have listened to people – the young, the poor and the vulnerable, including indigenous peoples, from every corner of the globe.

They have demanded that world leaders act to safeguard their well-being and that of generations to come.

Here in Paris, we have heeded their voices – as was our duty.

Excellencies,

We have solid results on all key points.

The agreement demonstrates solidarity.

It is ambitious, flexible, credible and durable. Continue reading

Message on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

 

person-quotedMESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

9 August 2015

 This year, as the United Nations commemorates its 70th anniversary, we can look back on major advances for humanity. The 2007 adoption by the General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was one of many successes achieved through the fruitful partnership between indigenous peoples and United Nations Member States. Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on World Youth Skills Day 2015

un logoTHE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON WORLD YOUTH SKILLS DAY

15 July 2015

            I welcome this first-ever commemoration of World Youth Skills Day. On July 15th each year, the international community will underscore the value of helping young people to upgrade their own abilities to contribute to our common future.

            While overall more young people have greater educational opportunities than in the past, there are still some 75 million adolescents who are out of school, denied the quality education they deserve and unable to acquire the skills they need.

            We may see an understandably frustrated youth population – but that picture is incomplete. With the right skills, these young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies.

            Skills development reduces poverty and better equips young people to find decent jobs. It triggers a process of empowerment and self-esteem that benefits everyone. And it strengthens youth capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, moving us closer to ending poverty hunger, injustice and environmental degradation.

            On this Day, I call for investing politically and financially in developing the skills of young people so that they can help build a more just and sustainable future for all.

Secretary General’s Message on International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking 2015

WDD15_logo_ENIn September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all. This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.

Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions.  In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs. We must consider alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply.  We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. Continue reading