Dialogue of civilizations, tolerance

18 February 2021, ECOSOC

Remarks to 2021 ECOSOC Meeting on “Reimagining Equality: Eliminating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination for All in the Decade of Action for the SDGs”

[Bilingual; as delivered]


Ladies and gentlemen,

Racism plagues our world.

It is abhorrent.  It is ugly.  And it is everywhere. 

We must condemn it without reservation, without hesitation, without qualification. 

Racism is the repudiation of our common humanity — of the Charter of the United Nations — of all that we are and all that we do.

We must reject racism.

But we have a long way to go.  It is a challenge and struggle for us all. 

25 January 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks to the Park East Synagogue and United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Service

Rabbi Schneier,
Holocaust survivors,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

We meet today online and around the world to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and to honour the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who were systematically murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators.

19 November 2020, UN Headquarters

remarks on Racism in the Workplace

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to this very important discussion on racism in the workplace.

I want to thank Dr. Kanem and our distinguished panel members who bring impressive expertise to this difficult issue.

Racism is a persistent scourge of our world.

People’s opportunities for education and employment, and their access to healthcare and justice, are often determined by their race.

Much of today’s racism is deeply entrenched in centuries of colonialism and slavery.  I am Portuguese – I think I know this story very well. 

02 July 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Virtual Belated Commemoration of the International Day of Vesak 2020

As the distinguished permanent representatives have said, we were originally meant to gather on May 7th, the date of this year’s Vesak Day, which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Lord Buddha.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone that gathering.

So today I thank the Governments of Sri Lanka and Thailand for bringing us together, and I extend a warm welcome to all who are joining this virtual event.

In any year, this observance is sacred to millions of Buddhists around the world.

12 May 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks at High-Level Video Conference entitled, "The Role of Religious Leaders in Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19"

Let me begin by thanking Ambassador Omar Hilale of the Kingdom of Morocco for this very timely initiative.
It is heartening to see so many religious leaders joining forces today in a spirit of solidarity.

18 February 2020, Lahore

Remarks at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

It is for me an enormous pleasure to be with all of you today, especially in a moment in which we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, and we hope to transform the 75th anniversary in a mutation in the way the UN relates with you.

Most political leaders and international organizations have in my opinion four stages in their relations with young people all over the world.

18 February 2020, Kartarpur

Remarks to press at Kartarpur, Pakistan

This is a very emotional moment — and I cannot be here without having a very strong feeling. 
It is wonderful to see interfaith dialogue. It is wonderful to see in the same shrine today Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, maybe Hindus — all worshipping in harmony and in peace. 
This is the best symbol that we can give for a world in peace and for a world in which there is mutual respect and there is the acceptance of what is different — recognizing that diversity is a blessing, is a richness, not a threat. 

07 November 2019, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Museum of Jewish Heritage

It is such an honour to join all of you to mark the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom.

Kristallnacht was not just the night of broken glass; it was the night of broken lives, broken families, broken societies, broken dreams.

And, as we know, that dreadful night of state-orchestrated terror was followed by days, months and years of incalculable horror, so tragically and movingly displayed here.

31 October 2019, Istanbul

Remarks to the 6th Istanbul Mediation Conference

Minister Çavuşoğlu,
Ministers, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to join you for the 6th Istanbul Mediation Conference. This is an important opportunity to consider how we approach mediation, one of our most important tools to reduce and end conflict.
As the tragedy in Syria grinds on for an eighth year, with civilians paying the hightest price, there could be no clearer illustration of the importance of political solutions to conflict. 

24 September 2019, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the event: Leadership Matters - Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the Contemporary World

It is a great pleasure and a great honour to be here to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the giants of the 20th century, a global icon of peace and an advocate for the most vulnerable. I thank Prime Minister Modi and the Indian mission for convening this meeting.
Gandhiji’s vision and philosophy are pillars of the work of the United Nations.