Human Rights, democracy

20 July 2020, General Assembly

Remarks to Annual General Assembly Commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day and United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize Laureate Recognition

I am pleased to join you to celebrate the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela -- one of the greatest leaders of our time, a moral giant whose legacy continues to guide us today.

Let me also express condolences to Madiba’s family and the people of South Africa on the untimely passing of his daughter, Zindzi, this month.

On today’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day, I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the 2020 laureates of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize: Mrs. Marianna Vardinoyannis of Greece and Dr. Morissana Kouyate of Guinea.

18 July 2020, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at Nelson Mandela Lecture: “Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era”

Secretary-General António Guterres delivers the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture virtually on Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July). UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

My dear friends, President Cyril Ramaphosa, excellencies, distinguished guests, friends,  

It is a privilege to join you in honouring Nelson Mandela, an extraordinary global leader, advocate, and role model.

I thank the Nelson Mandela Foundation for this opportunity and commend their work to keep his vision alive. And I send my deepest condolences to the Mandela family and to the Government and people of South Africa on the untimely passing of Ambassador Zindzi Mandela earlier this week. May she rest in peace. 

27 May 2020, Security Council

Remarks to the Security Council open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

I thank the Government of Estonia for convening this debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
Protecting civilians must be a joint effort by Governments, civil society and international organizations. I look forward to hearing the views of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mr. Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

08 May 2020, UN Headquarters

Appeal to Address and Counter COVID-19 Hate Speech

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COVID-19 does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction. We need every ounce of solidarity to tackle it together. Yet the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering.

04 May 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks to High-Level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 Context

[English version; scroll down for bilingual as delivered and French versions]

06 March 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks to Group of Friends on Gender Parity

I want to express my deep gratitude to our co-Chairs - Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani and Ms. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee for your very strong leadership and your dedication to enhancing gender parity and gender equality at the United Nations and beyond.

09 March 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks to 64th Commission on the Status of Women

I am very pleased to join you for the 64th Commission on the Status of Women.
I am truly saddened that the extraordinary circumstances ushered in by the spread of the coronavirus have left us no choice but to postpone the full session of the CSW and, instead, gather for just this one day.
I know that activists and women’s groups around the world share my disappointment.
But I also take heart because I know we remain committed to the cause of gender equality.

06 March 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the Observance of International Women's Day

I wish you all the best for International Women’s Day on Sunday.
Gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age and the biggest human rights challenge we face.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: gender equality is a question of power.
Men have used and abused power to control women and prevent them from achieving their potential for millennia.

27 February 2020, New York City

Secretary-General António Guterres' remarks at the New School: "Women and Power"

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Dear students, dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to be here today. Thank you for honouring me with this degree and through me, the United Nations and our staff around the world.

The New School is a special place. I am an engineer by training and physics has been the biggest intellectual passion of my life. But I reserve my greatest admiration for artists, philosophers, social scientists and those who explain the world and make it more beautiful.

24 February 2020, Geneva

Remarks to the UN Human Rights Council: “The Highest Aspiration: A Call to Action for Human Rights"

[English version; scroll down for bilingual as delivered version]

Distinguished President of the Human Rights Council,
Madame High Commissioner,

I would like to start by expressing my appreciation and admiration for the work being carried out by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and her Office.

Her personal history… her understanding of what it means for a society and an individual to suffer human rights violations… and her experience in advancing human rights as a world leader…