A mother holds her baby girl in one arm and raises the other showing off her ink stained index finger, which signifies her "I voted" status.

Messages - 2021

Secretary-General's Message

Our world is at a crossroads.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and the expansion of digital technology into all areas of our lives have created new threats to human rights.

Exclusion and discrimination are rampant.

Public space is shrinking.

Poverty and hunger are rising for the first time in decades.

Millions of children are missing out on their right to education.

Inequality is deepening.

But we can choose a different path.

Seventy-three years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The principles set out in this simple Declaration remain the key to realizing all human rights – civil, economic, cultural, social, and political – for all people, everywhere.

Recovery from the pandemic must be an opportunity to expand human rights and freedoms, and to rebuild trust.

Trust in the justice and impartiality of laws and institutions.

Confidence that a life of dignity is within reach.

Faith that people can get a fair hearing and resolve their grievances peacefully.

The United Nations stands for the rights of every member of our human family.

Today and every day, we will continue to work for justice, equality, dignity and human rights for all.

Happy Human Rights Day.

António Guterres

António Guterres


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Message

The past two years have painfully demonstrated the intolerable cost of soaring inequalities.

Equality is at the heart of human rights.

That doesn’t mean we must all look the same, think the same or act the same.

Quite the opposite.

It means that we embrace our diversity and demand that all be treated without any kind of discrimination.

That no matter who we are, who we love or where we live, we have equal opportunities to live in dignity and to pursue our dreams.

That from the moment we are born, anywhere on this planet, we have the same rights.

To life, health and education.

To speak our minds without fear.

To enjoy our days in a healthy environment.

All of us.

Equality is about empathy and solidarity.

About understanding that, as a common humanity, our only way forward is to work together for the common good.

But the inequalities inflamed by COVID-19 are pushing us backwards.

It is about time we pushback. And bring them down.

On this Human Rights Day, I invite you to join me in lending your name and your efforts to equality.

So that we can recover better, fairer and greener from this crisis.

So that we can rebuild societies that are more resilient and sustainable.

So that we can stand up for human rights. For all.

Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet


Recovery from the pandemic must be an opportunity to expand human rights and freedoms, and to rebuild trust.

António Guterres