New York

24 October 2018

Secretary-General's remarks at United Nations Day Concert [as delivered]

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Happy United Nations Day to you all!
Today, we celebrate the birthday of our founding Charter – the landmark document that embodies the hopes, dreams and aspirations of “we the peoples”.
I thank the Permanent Mission of India for sponsoring this concert featuring the sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan, and his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
A special welcome as well to the Refugee Orchestra Project and its conductor.
This orchestra brings together musicians whose friends and families have fled violence and sought asylum in the United States.
Tonight, I want them all to feel at home here at UN Headquarters.
Amjad Ali Khan and the Refugee Orchestra Project have crossed boundaries and cultures to enrich the societies where they perform.
They remind us – as our Charter reminds us -- that our diverse backgrounds are a cause for celebration rather than division.
Earlier this month, it was my deep personal honour to visit the Raj Ghat memorial in India to pay my respects to one of the world’s greatest leaders, Mahatma Gandhi.
Tonight’s theme of “peace and non-violence” is an appropriate tribute to his legacy.
Everyone has the fundamental human right to live in safety and peace.  
Yet, around the world, far too many suffer from war, discrimination and abuse.
The challenges are immense, but we don’t give up, because we know every man, woman and child deserves freedom from fear.
Climate change is moving faster than we are, but we don’t give up because we know that meaningful climate action is the only path. 
Inequality is growing.  Yet we don’t give up because we know that reducing inequality means more hope and opportunity – and more peace.
Women and girls still face unacceptable discrimination.  Yet we don’t give up because justice and common sense tell us that women and girls should be empowered and equal.
And human rights are still being violated.  But we don’t give up because we know that respect for human rights and dignity is fundamental for peace.
On this and every United Nations Day, we reaffirm our commitment.
To peace. 
To repair broken trust. 
To heal our planet.
To leave no one behind.
And to uphold dignity for all, as united nations.
In that spirit, let us work together for peace and sustainable progress.
I again thank the Permanent Mission of India for supporting tonight’s concert, and I thank you all for attending.
Thank you very much.