Vienna, Austria

03 November 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at meeting with Conchita Wurst

Thank you for all of this and thank you and welcome Conchita Wurst to the United Nations. It is a great pleasure to see all of you.

What a great way to mark the 35th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre! Thanks to the excellent hosts, Austria and the City of Vienna. 

I am wondering why [so many of] you have not turned out as when I have a Town Hall meeting. I think this is the biggest Town Hall meeting I have ever had around the world. Thank you, Conchita. But don’t expect such a great show every time whenever I come. Whenever she comes I think we can enjoy such a big show.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, I do not normally have the time to follow the Eurovision Song Contest – as you may imagine, I am a very busy man, travelling here and there, but this time I never failed when I heard that she won this Eurovision Song Contest, I immediately knew that she was the star of the world. Congratulations.

She is an incredible singer and entertainer. But what made her win so meaningful was the way she turned her victory in the Song Contest into an electrifying moment of human rights education.

Conchita is promoting respect for diversity. This is a core value of the United Nations Charter, along with our commitment to tolerance.

She confounds people’s preconceived ideas of gender and sexuality – and she appeals to them to accept her as she is. That is a powerful message. I am delighted she is using her talent and the Eurovision platform to take this message to a global audience.

As United Nations Secretary-General, I am proud to champion the cause of equality for all members of our human family no matter who they are or whom they love. I am resolved to lead by example, so this year I extended benefits to same sex partners of UN staff members.

I am glad we have here Hilda-Olivia Sarkissian, welcome, thank you for your courage, the first staff member in Vienna to receive full marital recognition for her family under the new policy. Thank you. Her twin daughters deserve just as much love as all children, and I’m so glad she got her rightful leave to be with them after they were born.

Discrimination has no place in the United Nations, nor in the world of the 21st Century.

I will continue to fight against transphobia and homophobia. I will stand strong for equality. I hope all of you join our global Free & Equal campaign.

As Conchita said on the night of her victory: “We are unstoppable.”
Thank you for your leadership. All the best.