Peace is at risk and violated in many places, but ‘we will not give up,’ says UN chief Guterres

21 September 2018

On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres cited the strong correlation between the International Day of Peace and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis for peace.

According to the UN chief, the Declaration, which turns 70 this year, provides a reminder that peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty and oppression and can thrive and prosper.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by UN Member States in 2015, also aim to serve this purpose by building a peaceful world through economic and social development for all with guaranteed human rights.

And yet, “when we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we know that human rights are violated in so many parts of the world, we even know that the human rights agenda is losing ground,” he said at the ceremonial ringing of the Peace Bell to commemorate Peace Day.

“But we don’t give up because respect for human rights and human dignity is a basic condition for peace,” Mr. Guterres stressed. “We are here because we are determined, and we do not give up.” 

“Peace is at risk. Peace is violated in so many places. But we will not give up,” he underscored.

UN Photo/Cia Pak
Secretary-General António Guterres (right) at the annual ceremony held at UN Headquarters in observance of the International Day of Peace. In this photo he is joined by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (left) and General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (centre).

Pointing to multiplying conflicts throughout world, he noted links between conflicts and terrorism, prevailing insecurity and suffering people, repeating: “But we don’t give up.” 

Noting that the appeal for combatants to pause and respect the Day often goes unheeded, he said: “But we don’t give up.”

Mr. Guterres lamented that while extreme poverty is being reduced and inequality growing, “we don’t give up because we believe inequality is one of the most important factors of instability and conflict.”

Instead, he asserted, “we will pursue our Agenda, the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, our struggle for a fair globalization because there is no development without peace but there is also no peace without development.” 

Calling peace “the unifying concept that brings us together at the United Nations,” he repeated yet again: “We will not give up.”

The International Day of Peace is commemorated annually on 21 September. Throughout the decades the ringing of the Peace Bell by the UN Secretaries-General has been a key element in its observance.

For an interactive story on the Peace Bell, click here.

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