Category Archives: Secretary-General’s Message

Old Friendships Renewed, New Friendships Made at UNO Baku Celebration of Friendship Day

02Azerbaijani friends of the United Nations, old and new, braved a sudden, tumultuous Baku summer rain on 30 July to come to the UN House to jointly celebrate International Day of Friendship. Despite the downpour the air rang with excitement, as the blessings of true friendship were discussed and celebrated with a picture montage and an Azerbaijani film screening, appropriately titled Əsl Dost, meaning ‘True Friend’.

The film screening, a wonderful classic tale of friendship between Azerbaijani fishermen, brought out a rapturous reaction from the audience. Young and old alike, sitting side by side and with open hearts embraced the spirit of Friendship Day, which is being observed around the globe for the third time already. Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities, the Day is also a great opportunity to celebrate the most special relationship in our life – true friendship.

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The Secretary-General’s message – International Human Solidarity Day

This year’s observance of International Human Solidarity Day comes during a period of dramatic transition. People across the world are demanding greater political freedom, accountability and equality. Global interdependence is deepening along economic, social, and environmental dimensions. In light of these realities, how can we best shape solutions for a more secure, sustainable and prosperous future?

Solidarity is crucial to solving problems in our interconnected world. We witnessed an important act of solidarity at this year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Governments, civil society and private sector leaders came together and agreed to promote an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future.

We can reach our shared goals if people are able to participate in the formulation and implementation of plans, policies and programmes to shape our common future. Commitments without empowerment are words without meaning.

Despite progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, we must intensify our efforts before the target date of 2015. We are also laying the groundwork for the post-2015 agenda. The process aims to be participatory, seeking the views of development experts and ordinary citizens around the world.

On International Human Solidarity Day I call on all citizens of the world to help us advance solidarity as a global family – and reach our shared goals.

The Secretary-General’s message – International Migrants Day

Every moment, around the world, people leave their countries in search of a safer or better life. Globally, more than 214 million people are on the move. Many flee difficult conditions only to face even greater struggles, including human rights violations, poverty and discrimination. But these migrants have more than fear and uncertainty; they also possess hopes, courage and the resolve to build a better life. With the right support, they can contribute to society’s progress.

Migration is a global issue that is rightly attracting more and more global attention. Next year, the United Nations General Assembly will hold its second High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, giving Member States and their partners a chance to discuss practical measures to facilitate labour mobility, foster sustainable development and protect the rights of migrants, especially women and girls.

Attention to the rights of migrants is especially important at this time of global economic and financial distress. As budgets tighten, we are seeing austerity measures that discriminate against migrant workers, xenophobic rhetoric that encourages violence against irregular migrants, and proposed immigration laws that allow the police to profile migrants with impunity. During economic downturns, it is worth remembering that whole sectors of the economy depend on migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs help to create jobs.

When migration policies are developed without attention to vulnerability, marginalization and discrimination, millions of migrants become cheap, disposable labour, the scapegoats for failed economic and social policies, and even casualties in an ill-defined war against “illegal migration.”

As human mobility becomes more complex, and the journeys taken by many migrants more perilous, it becomes all the more urgent to forge national policy responses that address migration based on human rights principles.

In the lead-up to the High-level Dialogue, I hope that Member States will approach human rights as a central issue in migration governance; at the national level I encourage them to take such measures as decriminalizing irregular migration, setting up effective alternatives to immigration detention, and ensuring that the functions of public service providers such as nurses or teachers are kept strictly separate from those of the immigration authorities. I also hope participants will duly consider the issue of migration in the context of the post-2015 global development agenda.