As the old year gives way to the new, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a heartfelt appeal to the citizens of the world to put peace at the center of their words and actions in 2023.
Every new year is a moment of rebirth and hope. It is a time for reflection and for resolve to make things better in the year to come than they were in the year gone by.
In reviewing the events of 2022, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres considered the difficulties and the heartbreak of the past year. In his New Year’s message, he said millions of people around the world have literally swept out the ashes of the old year.
He said they are preparing for a new dawn and a brighter day in the year ahead.
“From Ukraine to Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond, people left the ruins of their homes and lives in search of something better. Around the world, one hundred million people were on the move, fleeing wars, wildfires, droughts, poverty, and hunger. In 2023, we need peace, now more than ever,” said Guterres.
He said conflicts can end and peace can be assured through dialogue. He said a more sustainable world can be achieved by making peace with nature and climate. He appeals for peace in the home, so women and girls can live in dignity and safety.
Guterres said peace on the streets and communities, peace in places of worship, and freedom from hate speech and abuse online depend upon the full protection of human rights.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk echoes those sentiments. He said the shape of the New Year will be determined by the individual and collective actions people take.
His hope for the next year, he said, is for people to lead their lives with kindness, empathy, unity, and protection of human rights.
“We must ensure women’s rights, for example, are respected at home and in public, that women and girls have full equality and freedom from discrimination. We must open our children’s eyes to the mistakes of the past, we can inspire them to write a story of hope and unity and instill in them a commitment to creating a better world,” said Tuerk.
The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated in 2023. The core message inherent in this document - that there cannot be progress and peace without human rights - is as relevant now as it was in 1948.
U.N. rights chief Tuerk appeals to all nations and peoples to strive to make the world more dignified, to create a world where everyone’s rights are respected.