Astana, Kazakhstan

07 April 2010

Secretary-General's remarks to Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan

H.E. Mr. Kanat Saudabayev, Secretary of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Dederer Alexandr Fedorovich, Chairman of Public Associations of Germans of Kazakhstan, Members of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan,

I am honoured to meet you. I have had a tremendous journey through Central Asia. I have seen a region steeped in history -- rich in culture.

Today is the last day of my visit. Shortly I will meet President [Nursultan] Nazarbayev, and I will humbly receive the Order of Dostyk.

Friendship is fundamental for peace, prosperity and security. It is based on the values of respect and tolerance. These are the principles of the United Nations, and they are the principles of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan.

I commend President Nazarbayev for establishing this assembly.

Too many countries in the world have been torn apart by ethnic strife. Too many have seen their development held back by discord and suspicion. Distrust among cultures and faiths is still an obstacle to peace and progress in our globalized world. This is why the United Nations established the Alliance of Civilizations –to break down barriers and replace them with bridges built on understanding, respect and trust.

Kazakhstan is a valued contributor to the Alliance of Civilizations. And, at home, you are setting an important example. Kazakhstan has ratified a number of treaties vital to safeguarding the human rights of minorities. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Respecting the rights of children, of women, and of all minorities is at the core of the United Nations Charter. It is a moral obligation. It is also an economic imperative. Discrimination and injustice threaten all our goals for peace, security and sustainable development.

By preserving minority languages and nurturing ethnic cultures and traditions you are laying the foundations for lasting stability. The United Nations is honoured to assist you.

The UN Development Assistance Framework for Kazakhstan is supporting social cohesion among diverse groups and between the Government and the people. It is helping the Government to meet the needs of the most vulnerable: women and children, rural communities, people with disabilities, the elderly and minority cultural groups.

This is how to build an inclusive society –stable, modern, successful.

I am grateful for the opportunity to meet you today, and I look forward to learning about your work and experiences.

Thank you.