On sacred ground in Nepal, UN chief calls for global action for peace
Standing in the sacred grounds of Lumbini, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday delivered a heartfelt message, urging the world to take inspiration from the teachings of Lord Buddha and make a commitment to peace and compassion, as crises mount.
“It is an honor to be here in Lumbini – a site of spirituality, serenity, and peace,” Mr. Guterres began.
“I am deeply moved to have been invited to pay tribute to Lord Buddha.”
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini in southern Nepal, is known as the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It holds immense spiritual significance and draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
Reflect on Buddha’s message
Mr. Guterres urged everyone to reflect on the core teachings of Buddhism and their relevance in today’s troubled world.
He highlighted conflicts in regions from the Middle East to Ukraine, and the Sahel to Sudan, the undermining of global rules and institutions, and the devastating impact of these conflicts on ordinary people - especially women and children.
The Secretary-General also expressed concern over the record number of people driven from their homes by violence, conflict, and persecution, as well as the persistent challenges of poverty and inequality, and worsening impacts of the climate crises.
A clear choice
The UN chief’s message was clear, “humanity has a choice. The path to peace is ours to take. It is not always an easy one, but guided by Lord Buddha’s timeless example, I believe it is a vision we can make real through action.”
He outlined action that can lead the way, protecting human rights and dignity, building trust and understanding, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and addressing the climate crisis by urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and restoring biodiversity.
Mr. Guterres emphasized the Buddhist message of compassion, non-violence, and interdependence as an inspiration for all and source of unity.
“Peace is more than a noble vision; it is a rallying cry. From these sacred gardens, I call on the world to act now for peace,” Guterres concluded.
Address to the Parliament
On an official visit to Nepal at the invitation of the Government, the Secretary-General on Tuesday also addressed a joint session of the Nepalese Parliament, where he noted progress made by the country, having endured a decade-long internal armed conflict.
“You are preparing the final stages of your Nepalese-led peace process – healing the wounds of war through transitional justice,” he said.
“We know that transitional justice has the greatest chance of success when it is inclusive, comprehensive, and has victims at its heart,” he added, noting that UN stands ready to support the victim-centred process and its implementation in line with international standards and Supreme Court’s rulings.
In his address, the UN chief also recognized Nepal’s contributions to UN peacekeeping operations globally, climate change challenges, multilateralism and technology and digital inclusion.
Watch the full address by the Secretary-General below