Statements/Messages from the UN Secretary-General

Secretary-General’s Message on Universal Children’s Day (20 November 2015)
This year, I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty.

Far too many children languish in jail, mental health facilities or through other forms of detention.  Some children are vulnerable because they are migrants, asylum seekers, homeless or preyed on by organized criminals.  Whatever the circumstances, the Convention dictates that the deprivation of liberty must be a measure of last resort, and for the shortest time. Our aim must be to pursue the best interests of the child, prevent the deprivation of liberty and promote alternatives to detention.

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Secretary-General’s Message on World Toilet Day (19 November 2015) 

Sanitation is central to human and environmental health as well as to individual opportunity, development and dignity. Yet today, worldwide, one in every three people lacks improved sanitation, and one in every eight practices open defecation.

The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the central role sanitation plays in sustainable development. The integrated nature of the new agenda means that we need to better understand the connections between the building blocks of development. In that spirit, this year’s observance of World Toilet Day focuses on the vicious cycle connecting poor sanitation and malnutrition.

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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Tolerance (16 November 2015)The call “to practice tolerance” was written into the identity of the United Nations 70 years ago.  Today, in a world buffeted by turbulence and change, the Charter’s summons remains a vital touchstone for our work.People are more connected–- but this does not mean there is more understanding.
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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (3 November 2015)Today we remember the journalists and media workers who have been killed in the line of duty.More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade — one every five days — simply for bringing news and information to the public.Many perish in the conflicts they cover so fearlessly.  But all too many have been deliberately silenced for trying to report the truth.  Only 7 percent of such cases are resolved, and less than 1 crime out of 10 is even fully investigated.
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Secretary-General’s Message on World Cities Day (31 October 2015)
The theme of this year’s observance of World Cities Day — ‘Designed to Live Together’ — highlights the key role of urban design in building sustainable, socially integrated and prosperous urban environments.Good design can help tackle climate change. It reduces the impacts of disaster. It can help make our cities safer, cleaner, and more equal and integrative.  It promotes equal access to services, jobs and opportunities, and fosters contentment.
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Secretary-General’s Message on United Nations Day (24 October)National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world.  But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.
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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 2015)
This year’s observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty falls as the world embarks on a bold new path towards a future of dignity for all guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.This year’s theme — “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination” — highlights the need to focus greater attention on the excluded and marginalized members of the human family.
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Secretary-General’s Message on World Food Day (16 October 2015)
This year’s observance of World Food Day follows the landmark adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including a set of 17 goals to guide our work towards a future of dignity and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.How we choose to grow, process, distribute and consume the food we eat has a profound effect on people, planet, prosperity and peace.  Delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will not be possible without rapid progress towards ending hunger and undernutrition.  In the same way, delivering on the commitment to end hunger forever, for all people, will not be possible without major gains across the new Agenda.Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of the Girl Child (11 October 2015)
The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals rightly include key targets for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They offer an opportunity for a global commitment to breaking intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination – and realizing our vision of a life of dignity for all.
Our task now is to get to work on meeting the SDG targets and making good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030. That means enabling them to avoid child marriage and unwanted pregnancy, protect against HIV transmission, stay safe from female genital mutilation, and acquire the education and skills they need to realize their potential. It also requires ensuring their sexual health and reproductive rights. Girls everywhere should be able to lead lives free from fear and violence. If we achieve this progress for girls, we will see advances across society.
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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September 2015)
Not so long ago, humanity stood on the brink of a self-inflicted catastrophe.  Our use of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had torn a hole in the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
But we tackled this challenge.  Thirty years ago, the international community signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.  Under its Montreal Protocol, the world united to slash the production and consumption of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.Together, we have succeeded in putting the stratospheric ozone layer on the road to recovery by the middle of this century.  As a result, up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year, along with even more avoided cases of eye cataracts.
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Secretary-General’s Message on International Literacy Day (8 September 2015)
Literacy, a human right that empowers individuals and advances societies, is needed more than ever as the United Nations prepares to adopt a new global agenda for sustainable development.Agenda 2030 is ambitious and transformative, aiming to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and preserve our planet. Its adoption by world leaders later this month offers an opportunity to recommit to promoting literacy as part of our collective push for a life of dignity for all.
More than 750 million adults in our world are illiterate – and two thirds of them are women. Some 250 million primary school age children do not have a grasp of basic literacy skills while 124 million children and adolescents are out of school. All of these people, whatever their age, deserve the chance to learn to read. When we give them that opportunity, we will create more productive, stable and secure societies for all.On this International Literacy Day, I call for governments and partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy as an essential component of the future we want.
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Enforced Disappearances (30 August)
Victims of enforced disappearances are deprived of their liberty, kept in secret detention and seldom released. Often their fate remains unknown; they are frequently tortured and in constant fear of being killed. Even if they are eventually set free, the physical and psychological scars stay with them for the rest of their lives. The victims’ families and loved ones also suffer immense anguish.
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Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 26 August 2015
The Secretary-General welcomes the signature today by President Salva Kiir of the Agreement on the resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. This is a critical and necessary step towards ending the 20 month-long conflict that has devastated South Sudan and subjected its people to unspeakable suffering.
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Secretary-General’s Message on World Humanitarian Day (19 August 2015)
On World Humanitarian Day, we honour the selfless dedication and sacrifice of workers and volunteers from around the world who devote themselves – often at great personal risk – to assisting the world’s most vulnerable people.This year, more than 100 million women, men and children need life-saving humanitarian assistance.  The amount of people affected by conflict has reached levels not seen since the Second World War, while the number of those affected by natural and human-induced disasters remains profound.On this Day we also celebrate our common humanity.  The families and communities struggling to survive in today’s emergencies do so with resilience and dignity.  They need and deserve our renewed commitment to do all we can to provide them with the means for a better future.
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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Youth (12 August 2015)
Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people. No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.
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Secretary-General’s Message on World Tourism Day (30 July 2015)
“One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities”
This year’s World Tourism Day highlights the global potential of tourism for socio-economic development.  With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people.
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Secretary-General’s Message on World Population Day (11 July 2015)
Not since the end of the Second World War have so many people been forced from their homes across the planet. With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable.  Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases.  Shame and accountability rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators who wage cowardly battles across the bodies of innocents.These women are far from just victims. They have hopes, plans and the potential to make important contributions to our common future. We must staunchly protect women’s health, including their sexual and reproductive health, and address their needs as a priority in emergency relief operations. At the same time, we must continuously advance women’s human rights in times of both turmoil and calm in order to enable them to help avert conflict, stand strong should it strike, and foster the healing that is so badly needed in war-torn societies.As the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary this year, let us take strength from our founding mission to give hope and support to the most vulnerable. On this World Population Day, I urge countries to commit to bold results that will make 2015 a time of global action, putting people first so that they help build resilience, peace and sustainable prosperity for generations to come.
Secretary-General’s Message on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June 2015)
The rise of violent extremism and unprecedented levels of forced displacement in our world demand a comprehensive response – and no aspect is more urgent than assisting the many victims of rising levels of torture that these and related trends generate.The world is rightly shocked and horrified by the treatment of innocent civilians, especially women, at the hands of violent extremists. At the same time, record numbers of people fleeing their homes risk a perilous journey that is often marred by grave violations of human rights, including torture.Read moreSecretary-General’s Message on World Oceans Day (8 June 2015)Oceans are an essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem, and healthy oceans are critical to sustaining a healthy planet. Two out of every five people live relatively close to a shore, and three out of seven depend on marine and coastal resources to survive. Our oceans regulate the climate and process nutrients through natural cycles while providing a wide range of services, including natural resources, food and jobs that benefit billions of people.Given how critical oceans are to the health of our planet and the prosperity of people, they are an essential element in our emerging vision for sustainable development, including the new set of sustainable development goals now being prepared to guide the global fight against poverty for the next 15 years.Climate change poses a great challenge for the health and productivity of the oceans. The science is clear: humans have caused changes to the climate system that are linked to the warming of oceans. Sea-levels are rising, with devastating effects on vulnerable communities, especially people living in small island developing States.Oceans absorb a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions and are becoming more acidic as a result. Ocean ecosystems are degrading. Corals, which sustain so much of marine life, are vulnerable to bleaching and even death caused by warmer temperatures.World Oceans Day is a chance to strengthen our resolve to appreciate, protect and restore our oceans and their resources.This year, governments are seeking to adopt landmark agreements on climate change and ending poverty. Success will demand that they look at the essential role of world’s oceans.The oceans are vast – but their capacity to withstand human damage is limited. In this potentially pivotal year, we must commit to using the gifts of the oceans peacefully, equitably and sustainably for generations to come.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza – 4 June 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the firing of rockets by militants from Gaza towards Israel on 3 June. He calls on all parties to avoid further escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardise the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

New York, 4 June 2015

The Secretary-General’s Message on World Environment Day (5 June 2015)

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide.  Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points.  It is time for us to change.

The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.  We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.

In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact.  Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make.  Let us become better stewards of our planet.

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 1 June 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the Government of South Sudan’s decision to expel the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/ Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Toby Lanzer.

Mr. Lanzer has been instrumental in addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities in the country, and ensuring that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches the most vulnerable. This has been necessary because of continuing violence by both parties in the absence of a comprehensive peace agreement.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of South Sudan to reverse its decision immediately. He further urges the Government to cooperate fully with all United Nations entities present in South Sudan.

Mr. Lanzer was coming to the end of his term, and in order to ensure continuity for this critical function, the Secretary-General has already appointed his successor, whose nomination was announced on 29 May.

New York, 1 June 2015

Secretary-General’s Message for Day of Vesak 2015 – 01 June

On this Day of Vesak, I extend special greetings to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, a country that was instrumental in leading the United Nations General Assembly to designate this observance.  I hope that the Nepalese people observing this holiday amid the rubble are able to take some measure of comfort from its message of human solidarity.

The spirit of Vesak can help to animate a global response to the challenges of our day. As the United Nations works for the adoption this year of a set of new sustainable development goals and a meaningful new agreement on climate change, we would do well to heed the Buddhist teaching that life and the environment are essentially one. And the Lord Buddha’s observation that all peoples are interconnected reminds us of the importance of uniting as one human family resolved to address our shared struggles based on common values.

I have asked members and leaders of all faith communities to join the United Nations in responding to the recent dangerous and destabilizing rise of violent extremism. Toward that end, we recently welcomed eminent figures from the world’s major religions to two days of meetings at the United Nations on promoting tolerance and reconciliation.

The imperative of transcending differences lies at the heart of Buddhist teachings, whose injunctions to practice compassion are timeless.

Let us celebrate Vesak Day with a pledge to care for the most vulnerable people in our societies and, in the process, create a better future for all.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Terrorist Attack in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 23 May 2015

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack today targeting a Shia mosque in the town of al-Qudaih in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The attack caused many deaths and injuries as people were gathering for Friday prayers.

The Secretary-General stresses that such attacks on places of worship are abhorrent and intended to promote sectarian conflict.  He hopes that the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.

The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his sympathies to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

New York, 22 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Boko Haram attacks and the impact on civilian populations – 22 May 2015

The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the continuing indiscriminate and horrific attacks by Boko Haram against civilian populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

He regrets that in spite of the military gains made by the affected countries, Boko Haram continues its wanton destruction and killing of civilians.

The Secretary-General is appalled by the continued abductions and use of children as “human bombs”, as well as by testimony that many of the girls and women held by Boko Haram were repeatedly raped while in captivity and compelled to marry their captors as part of a campaign of forced imprisonment and sexual violence. The perpetrators of these despicable acts must be brought to justice. He calls on the Government of Nigeria to scale up the provision of medical and psychosocial support to the survivors.

The Secretary-General is also deeply concerned over the further displacement of some 40,000 civilians in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in the last three weeks. He urges members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to advance the operationalization of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and create a secure environment for the safe and voluntary return, resettlement or integration of displaced persons and refugees.

The Secretary-General again urges the states involved to ensure that all measures taken to address the terrorist threat of Boko Haram are conducted in line with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. To be remotely effective, the response to this threat has to go beyond a purely military one.  Legitimate grievances, past and current human rights violations, and the root causes of the conflict must also be addressed.

New York

22 May 2015

Secretary-General’s Message on Africa Day (25 May 2015)

Each year, Africa Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and to reflect on its challenges.  The dominant story of the year has been the Ebola crisis that swept West Africa, claiming at least 11,000 lives and threatening hard-won social, economic and political achievements.  With great courage and determination, and with the generous support of African nations and the international community, the affected countries have made remarkable progress toward ending the outbreak.  Now, we have to intensify efforts to “get to zero and stay at zero” cases, repair the damage, and strengthen social and institutional resilience throughout the continent.  To help mobilize support for this important task I will convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference at the United Nations in New York in July.

Africa continues to make steady economic, social and political progress.  Overall, the continent’s economy grew by roughly 4 per cent in 2014, creating one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted positive economic expansion in Africa’s history.  As a result, a growing number of Africans have joined the middle class each year.  With investment in education, health and infrastructure increasing, the prospects for much of Africa are bright.

The challenge is to spread these benefits of Africa’s progress more broadly and deeply, particularly to the women and girls who represent Africa’s future. If we empower women, we help build better, more equal and more prosperous societies.  I commend the commitment of the African Union to gender equality and the empowerment of women as part of its Agenda 2063, and I welcome the declaration of 2015 as the year of women’s empowerment in Africa.

While we work to break down the social, economic, environmental and cultural obstacles that women and girls face, let us also recognize the gains that have been made.  Africa leads the world in female representation in Parliaments, and the continent has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship.  Let us be inspired by these successes and intensify efforts to provide Africa’s women with better access to education, work and healthcare, and by doing so, accelerate Africa’s transformation.  Let us also do more to end violence against women and girls while strengthening their role in all fields, including peacebuilding.  Despite an overall decline in the number of conflicts, too many Africans still experience violent conflict.  Women and girls bear the brunt, and are frequent targets of sexual violence and abuse.

We know that conflicts breed where people suffer from poor governance, human rights violations, exclusion and poverty.  I therefore applaud Africa’s vision to build, by 2063, a peaceful and prosperous continent where democracy, human rights and the rule of law are entrenched and flourishing, starting with the aim to silence all guns by 2020.  I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to work with the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities, and African countries and their citizens, to make this vision a reality.

Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (23 May 2015)

Obstetric fistula is a devastating yet completely preventable and, in many cases, treatable injury of childbirth.  It leaves women, and many girls, incontinent and often stigmatized, abused and isolated from families and communities.  At least 2 million women and girls live with the condition, and 50,000 to 100,000 new cases occur every year.

The fact that fistula persists primarily among the poorest and most marginalized women and girls in the world is an egregious outcome of social, economic and gender inequalities, the denial of human rights and inadequate access to quality reproductive health services, including maternal and newborn care.  We can and must put an end to this needless suffering.

We mark this International Day with the theme, “End fistula, restore women’s dignity”.  I call on world leaders to commit to ending the scourge of fistula in our lifetime.  To achieve this goal, every fistula-affected nation needs to develop an inclusive, costed and time-bound national strategy and action plan.  The international community must also significantly intensify support to nations with the greatest need.

To address the neglected health and human rights issues of fistula, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and its partners, launched the global Campaign to End Fistula.  In the twelve years since this effort began, much has been accomplished, including providing relief to more than 57,000 women and girls through fistula surgical repairs.  However, much more needs to be done.

Echoing the December 2014 United Nations General Assembly resolution on ending fistula, I urge the international community to speed up its efforts to end this condition.  This needs to be part of a far-reaching and inclusive sustainable development agenda to improve sexual and reproductive and newborn health, strengthen health systems, eliminate health inequities and increase levels and predictability of funding.

We have a moral obligation, as a global community, to complete the unfinished agenda of eradicating fistula.  Together, let us keep our promises to support universal human rights and ensure the health and dignity of women and girls everywhere.

Secretary-General’s Message for International Day for Biological Diversity 2015 – 22 May

 

IBD

The variety of life on Earth is essential for the welfare of current and future generations.  The conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biological diversity can help solve a range of societal challenges.

Protecting ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services by poor and vulnerable groups are essential to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.  Reducing deforestation and land degradation and enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands generate significant social and economic benefits and are cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change.

Any sustainable development framework must provide the enabling conditions for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, for more equitable sharing of benefits, and for reducing the drivers of biodiversity loss.  The sustainable development goals and the broader post-2015 development agenda, which are under negotiation now, provide an opportunity to mainstream biodiversity and promote transformational change in how economies and societies use and regard biodiversity.

The globally adopted Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets provide a useful model that Member States can use in considering how to implement the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  Meeting the Aichi Targets and addressing biodiversity loss more generally would contribute significantly to the post-2015 development agenda.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, let us recommit to global action to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, for people and for our planet.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 20 May 2015

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the escalation of hostilities in the past ten days between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition and their allied forces in Unity and Upper Nile States.

He is appalled by the reports of human rights violations committed by the SPLA and their allied forces, including the burning of villages, and the killing and rape of civilians, in the course of their military operations in Unity State. He also deplores the death of four internally displaced persons (IDPs) caught in the cross-fire in the protection of civilians site within the UNMISS compound in Melut. He demands that immediate national investigations be conducted so that those responsible for these crimes are held accountable by their respective leadership.

The Secretary-General underscores that this fighting is unacceptable. It is part of a series of violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the parties on 23 January 2014 and undermines the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in South Sudan.

The Secretary-General calls upon President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to immediately cease all military operations and reminds them of their obligations to protect civilians under international human rights and humanitarian law. He reminds the parties that they must respect the inviolability of UNMISS premises, including protection of civilian sites, which are now host to more than 120,000 IDPs.

20 May 2015, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Burundi – 14 May 2015

The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by developments in Burundi since the announcement of the electoral candidacy of President Nkurunziza and especially in the aftermath of the 13 May declaration of a coup d’état. The Secretary-General condemns attempts to oust elected governments by military force. He appeals for strict respect of Burundi’s Constitution as well as the Arusha Agreement.

The Secretary-General now urgently calls for calm and restraint. He urges all political and security leaders to clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants.  He stresses that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable. In this regard, he has full confidence that the Security Council will consider the various tools at its disposal in examining the situation in Burundi, including regarding accountability.

The United Nations reminds the Burundian authorities of their obligation to ensure the protection of all Burundian citizens, as well as United Nations personnel and premises.

The Secretary-General commends the East African Community (EAC) for its leadership.  He is in close contact with leaders in the region. Through his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, the United Nations will continue to work closely with the EAC, the African Union and other partners in joint efforts to help resolve the crisis in Burundi.  He also urges Burundians to create the conditions for the holding of inclusive, violence free and credible elections, as soon as possible.

New York, 14 May 2015

Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen on humanitarian truce – 13 May 2015

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations welcomes the humanitarian truce in force in Yemen since last night and pays tribute to the commitment of all the parties. However he notes with concern that there have been some sporadic skirmishes in some areas.

Recalling the importance of this truce the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General calls on the media to play a positive role to help deescalate tensions and calls on all parties to resist reacting to provocations aimed at undermining the truce which could lead to a resumption of violence. Further violence could hinder the provision of humanitarian aid and relief of the Yemeni people and undermine prospects for a permanent cease-fire and a return to the political process.

Sana’a, Yemen, 13 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on attacks in Karachi, Pakistan – 13 May 2015

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 45 members of the Ismaili community and injuring several others.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this despicable act.

Taking note that a number of attacks against the Shia and Christian minorities have taken place in the recent past in Pakistan, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Pakistan to take swift measures aimed at effective protection of religious minorities in the country. Creating a climate of tolerance, understanding and respect will greatly contribute to achieving this objective.

Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, must uphold its obligations and commitments towards protecting its citizens, including all minorities.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

New York, 13 May 2015

Secretary-General’s press statement at event for 70th Anniversary of World War II with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine – 8 May 2015

Dobryi Ranok! [“Good morning.”]

It is a great honour for me to be here, standing together with the President Poroshenko and his people of Ukraine in this very solemn and sacred place where we are honouring and commemorating many valiant and courageous Ukrainian soldiers and citizens who fought to defend their country, to defend their human dignity against the aggression of Nazism. It seems that I am hearing their ardent aspirations, their voices… ardent aspirations wishing the people of Ukraine to live in peace and harmony and preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Yesterday I was with many European leaders and international organizations who commemorated the victorious end of the Second World War, the 70th Anniversary.

And this morning, I am standing with people of Ukraine to commemorate and to express my deepest admiration and respect to many people who gave their lives to defend freedom, liberty, democracy, and their human dignity. It is a day of celebration and commemoration, and solemn remembrance. Today, we pay our profound respect to the memory of the millions of people who fought for freedom.

Ukraine contributed and sacrificed immensely, a fact that the world cannot and will never forget.

We honour the valiant veterans, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us to commemorate today. This morning, I was very humbled to meet a veteran who even came to my country Korea at a time of liberation from Japanese colonialism.  He was proudly wearing a medal from Korea saying “Liberation”. That is most humbling.

As we recall the huge price of victory over fascism, we renew our solemn promise that the sacrifice of the fallen will not be in vain.  Out of this tragedy emerged a common resolve by the international community to come together and create the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations says their main purpose is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

The United Nations has being working very hard to protect human lives and human dignity. I know that there had being some setbacks and failures, but the United Nations is the most legitimate organization in the international community to preserve peace, freedom, human dignity, and human rights.

I am saddened that I come to Ukraine amidst a debilitating conflict in the east, where nearly 7,000 people [lives] have been lost, along with so much destruction of your society.

The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I am here to reaffirm my support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, in a manner upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The United Nations and Ukraine are strong partners: Ukraine is a founding member of the United Nations and in its 24 years of independence, Ukraine has provided peacekeepers to so many places in the world. And if Ukraine now turns to the UN for assistance on its own peace and security, I will do my utmost to assist Ukraine’s Government and people.

The United Nations and the international community will continue to stand together with the Ukrainian people.  I am deeply admiring of the strong leadership of President Poroshenko, for his vision and resilience to keep this country independent and sovereign, and its territorial integrity. I am standing with you. I wish you all the best.

Duzhe diakuiu.  [“Thank you very much.”]

Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Families (15 May 2015)

The theme of this year’s International Day of Families – “Men in Charge?” – highlights the importance of gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families.

Around the world, more women are becoming recognized as the equal partners and decision-makers in families that they should be, thus helping to ensure a conducive environment for the full and harmonious development of children.

Yet in too many countries, discrimination against women and disregard for children’s rights remain built into family laws and Government policies, and prevailing social norms often condone and justify many discriminatory practices.

The social and economic costs are felt by all.  Discrimination and neglect often lead to violence, threatening women’s and children’s health and limiting their chances to complete education and fulfil their potential.  The cycle tends to continue into the next generation, as children experiencing violence are more likely to resort to violence in their adult lives.

Equitable social and economic development depends on fair legal frameworks and social norms that support the rights of women and children.  Discriminatory laws and practices that do not give equal rights to all, and that suppress women’s and children’s rights, have no place in contemporary families, communities, societies and nations.

On this International Day, let us resolve to change legal and social norms that support male control over women, reinforce discrimination and prevent the elimination of violence against vulnerable family members.  As we shape a new sustainable development agenda and strive for a world of dignity for all, let us stand united for women’s and children’s rights in families and societies at large.

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Attack on MONUSCO in the DRC – 5 May 2009

Secretary-General’s Remarks at “Ceremony for the Planting of the Tree of Peace and Unity to Commemorate the End of the Second World War and the Establishment of the United Nations” – 5 May 2015

Joint Message from Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on World Press Freedom Day – 3 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen – 30 April 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in the Yarmouk camp – 29 April 2015

Secretary-General’s statement on executions carried out in Indonesia – 29 April 2015