Statement at the Special Solemn Meeting of the General Assembly in Commemoration of all Victims of the Second World War

New York – 5 May 2015

Mr Secretary General,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a conflict which brought untold sorrow to humankind. This anniversary also holds particular importance for the United Nations, whose founding took place on the ashes of this ferocious war that claimed millions of lives.

Distinguished delegates,

The Second World War was a time of unspeakable atrocities; of lost faith and devastated humanity. Today, we honour the countless victims that lost their lives in the war.

This special session also affords us the opportunity to recall the General Assembly’s firm desire to make every possible effort to prevent and mitigate the human suffering that results from war.

Indeed, we must never forget the international community’s responsibility to stand up to tyrants, despots and all those that attempt to suppress the enduring nature of the human spirit.

Having survived the catastrophe of the Second World War, humankind sought to embrace new means to prevent the recurrence of such tragic events. To this end, the United Nations was established to ensure unity and harmony among nations.

As envisioned in the Charter, the United Nations was founded to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Over the last seven decades, the war not only shaped the Organization’s mission, but its lessons continue to guide our work around the world.

Today, we stand in solidarity under the guiding principles upon which this Organization was founded; including non-aggression, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and the need to protect human rights, among others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While the Second World War brought about untold misery and suffering, it was also a time when the world witnessed extraordinary bravery. Through the collective, heroic efforts of countless men and women, victory was claimed over tyranny and evil.

Today, we remember and honour those who lost their lives in the brutal scourge of the Second World War and pay tribute to those whose memory we must never forget.

I thank you for your attention.

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