Launch of the UN strategy to combat hate speech

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, recalling that “respect for human rights, without discrimination based on race, sex, language or religion, is a thread running through the United Nations Charter”. The Secretary-General called hate speech “an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles”. He said that digital communications, specifically, social media platforms are making hate speech more virulent than ever and enabling it to move farther and faster. The Secretary-General added that “addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into more something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law.”

The Secretary-General alongside his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, speaks to the press following the launch of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. UN Photo/ Manuel Elias

Remarks at the launch:

Press encounter at launch:

Over 70 million people forced to flee – World Refugee Day reveals “astonishing number”

Somali refugees who live in the Dadaab camp in northern Kenya. © UNHCR/Tobin Jones

“On World Refugee Day, my thoughts are with the more than 70 million women, children and men – refugees and internally displaced persons — who have been forced to flee war, conflict and persecution,” said the Secretary-General in a video message. He stressed this is an “astonishing number – twice what it was 20 years ago.” The Secretary-General stressed: “what refugees need most is peace”.

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Secretary-General on World Refugee Day


Secretary-General on #ILO100: “The desire for social justice is as vital as ever”

On Friday in Geneva, the Secretary-General attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the International Labour Organization, ILO. “Your agenda is at the centre of people’s concerns. The dignity of decent work.  A fair globalization.  Social justice for everyone, everywhere,” he said. The Secretary-General also stated that in a rapidly changing world, “the ILO remains ahead of its time, bringing employers and workers into the decision-making process.”  “Over the past century, the world has changed enormously — but people’s basic needs have not. The desire for social justice is as vital as ever and so, too, is the need for the @ILO,” he tweeted.

Remarks (bilingual):

Sexual violence in conflict “threat to collective security and a stain on common humanity”

In a video message marking the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Secretary-General stressed the need to focus on the needs, demands and voices of survivors.  He added that the “global response must include more concerted action to ensure accountability for the perpetrators – and to address the gender inequality that fuels these atrocities.” The Secretary-General emphasized the need to “replace impunity with justice; and indifference with action.”

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Secretary-General’s video-message on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict


25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

On Monday, the Secretary-General marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  He stressed that oceans are under “unprecedented pressure” that “can be addressed through the effective and comprehensive implementation” of the Convention. He challenged decisionmakers to “be the generation that reverses the cycle of continuous decline in our oceans and ensures that conservation and sustainable use, for the benefit of current and future generations”.


Statement and messages

On the terrorist attacks in Kenya and Somalia:

On the International Day of Family Remittances:

On Nigeria:

On World Day to Combat Desertification:

To the Sustainable Energy for All “Charettes” (video):

For Global Water 2020 Stakeholder Commitments Gathering(video):

On Mexico:

For Smarthead Sustainability Summit (video):

To Interfaith Summit:

To the United Nations Population Award:

For second European Games (video):

Senior Appointments

Mr. Yacoub El Hillo of Sudan as Deputy Special Representative for Libya:

Next Week

On Sunday, the Secretary-General will take part in the World Conference of Youth Ministers in Lisbon, Portugal, along with his Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanaye. On Tuesday, in New York, he will attend the annual pledging conference for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and address the launch of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism. On Wednesday, he will address an informal meeting of the General Assembly on combatting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and hate, focusing on the challenges of teaching tolerance and respect in the digital age.