24 March 2021

There Can Be No Justice, Reparation without Truth, Secretary-General Stresses, Calling It ‘an Empowering and Healing Force’, in Message for International Day

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, today:

Today we commemorate the life of Monsignor Oscar Romero, who was murdered for his vocal opposition to inequality, marginalization and injustice in El Salvador.

We honour all victims and survivors of gross human rights violations around the world.  We reaffirm and celebrate their dignity by acknowledging their experiences; by renewing our commitment to justice and remedy for them; and by pledging to do everything in our power to prevent any recurrence of such crimes.

Acknowledgment, justice and prevention can only begin with uncovering and acknowledging the facts.  Without truth, there can be no justice or reparation.  A public accounting of the truth surrounding the perpetration of gross human rights abuses enables societies to address their underlying causes.

Today, as we honour those who experienced such abuses, let us reflect on what each of us can do to prevent serious human rights violations and conflict in our own societies.  Let us reach out to others, listen to them, find common ground and overcome divisions.

The truth is an empowering and healing force.  We embrace it for the past, the present and the future.

For information media. Not an official record.