19 September 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11797
OBV/724

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ON INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL RINGS PEACE BELL, SENDS TEXT MESSAGE


TO WORLD LEADERS TO DEFEAT CONFLICT, POVERTY, HUNGER, BOOST HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks on ringing the Peace Bell on the International Day of Peace today, in New York:


Good morning.  I am delighted to see so many of you here for this annual ceremony.  Let me offer a special welcome to the Messengers of Peace and the many children joining us today.


This year, the International Day of Peace takes on special meaning.  This is the year we also mark the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


We know that human rights are essential to peace.  Yet too many people around the world still have their rights violated -- especially during and after armed conflict.


That is why we must ensure that the rights in the Declaration are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.


It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them.


At the same time, we face a development emergency.  This year, we pass the midpoint in the race to reach the Millennium Development Goals -- the common vision agreed by leaders of all countries for building a better world in the twenty-first century.


Reaching these Goals is also essential to peace.  Yet many countries in Africa are not on track to reach a single one of the Goals by the deadline of 2015.


That is why, just after the International Day of Peace, Governments, civil society and business will meet at the United Nations to forge a broad coalition and try to bridge the gap.


With so much to unite us on this International Day of Peace, I call on people around the world to observe a minute of silence at noon on Sunday.


And I call on them to send a text message appealing for peace.


We do this in defence of those whose rights are violated.


We do it for those who suffer from poverty and hunger.


We do it to support our call for a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, as declared by the General Assembly.


My text message reads:  “On 21 September, the International Day of Peace, I call on world leaders and peoples around the world to join forces against conflict, poverty and hunger, and for all human rights for all.”


I am pleased that the children here with me today are joining me in sending text messages.


Together, let us send a powerful signal for peace that will be felt, heard and read around the world.


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For information media • not an official record