Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, observed on 24 March:
The International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations honours the memory of victims of heinous and systematic abuses.
The day coincides with the anniversary of the murder of Monsignor Oscar Romero, who was killed four decades ago for speaking out against injustice and impunity in El Salvador.
On this Day, we honour the bravery and determination of victims, civil society representatives and community leaders around the world who relentlessly strive for a better future, guided by the compass of human dignity. Their efforts to uncover the truth about gross human rights violations and the circumstances in which they were committed is an inspiration and a service to us all.
Truth opens the path to justice, reparation and healing. It helps us overcome prejudice, divisive narratives and extreme polarization. It also helps address the root causes of conflict and prevent its recurrence. This is also why “The Highest Aspiration” — my Call to Action for Human Rights — features efforts to promote justice and accountability for all.
As we recognize the courage of human rights defenders everywhere, let us commit to protect those who seek truth and justice, and provide victims with effective remedies and restore their dignity.