Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,
We are witnessing a wave of demonstrations around the world, from the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean … from Europe to Africa and Asia.
Disquiet in peoples’ lives is leading to anything but quiet in streets and city squares.
Every situation is unique.
Some protests are triggered by economic issues – including rising prices, persistent inequality or financial systems that benefit elites.
Others stem from political demands.
And in some cases, people are reacting to corruption or different forms of discrimination.
Yet there are commonalities that span the continents – and that should force all of us to reflect and respond.
We need to think about the underlying factors.
It is clear that there is a growing deficit of trust between people and political establishments, and rising threats to the social contract.
The world is also wrestling with the negative impacts of globalization and new technologies, which have increased inequalities within societies.
Even where people are not protesting, they are hurting and want to be heard.
People want a level playing field – including social, economic and financial systems that work for all.
They want their human rights respected, and a say in the decisions that affect their lives.
As I already said in my statement two weeks ago, I am deeply concerned that some protests have led to violence and loss of life.
Governments have an obligation to uphold the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, and to safeguard civic space.
Security forces must act with maximum restraint, in conformity with international law.
And I call on protestors to follow the examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and other champions of nonviolent change.
There can be no excuse for violence – from any quarter.
Above all, I urge leaders everywhere to listen to the real problems of real people.
Our world needs action and ambition to build a fair globalization, strengthen social cohesion, and tackle the climate crisis.
Those are precisely the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
With solidarity and smart policies, leaders can show they “get it” – and point the way to a more just world.
Thank you for your attention.