Geneva, Switzerland, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General's video message on the 60th Anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 50th Anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of StatelessnessDistinguished heads of State and government, Esteemed ministers, High Commissioner António Guterres, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we celebrate two treaties that have helped millions of people around the world.
People forced to flee disasters, war and persecution.
People struggling to survive and rescue their children.
People who crossed borders with nothing, except the dream of a safer future.
These life-saving treaties are based on a simple principle, which is as true today as ever:
The principle that people should never be forced into harm's way.
Today you have a chance to help us reduce statelessness, and assist refugees.
Today you can pledge your support for UNHCR.
Your contributions will help people far from their home countries, struggling against injustice, marginalization and fear.
You can also pledge more than funds. You can commit your solidarity for all refugees in our world.
Earlier this year, I was in Oslo to celebrate the life of Fridtjof Nansen. He was the father of international refugee relief, the first High Commissioner of Refugees at the League of Nations.
Nansen once said that helping people return home is more important for peace than many political moves.
I have seen the truth of these words.
Help refugees. Contribute to peace.
Statements on 7 December 2011
- Durban, South Africa, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks to COP-17 High-Level Ministerial Dinner [as prepared for delivery]
- Durban, South Africa, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General''s remarks at the UNFCCC COP17 Chief Executives Board side event
- Durban, South Africa, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General''s remarks on advancing public-private partnerships for REDD+ and green growth
- Vilnius, Lithuania, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General's message to Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [delivered by B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]
- Durban, South Africa, 7 December 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks on mobilizing long-term Climate Finance for Developing Countries