UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it is sad the world is not living up to the values embodied by Mahatma Gandhi and urged nations to defeat the challenges of poverty, racism, and rising hate speech by embracing his values and working across borders to build a more peaceful future for all.
“Gandhi’s life and example reveal a timeless pathway to a more peaceful and tolerant world. Let us walk this path together, in solidarity, as one human family,” Guterres said in his message for the International Day observed on October 2 to mark Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
He said the International Day of Non-Violence celebrates not only Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, but the values he embodied that echo across the decades: peace, mutual respect, and the essential dignity shared by every person.
“Sadly, our world is not living up to those values. We see this through growing conflicts and climate chaos. Poverty, hunger, and deepening inequalities. Prejudice, racism, and rising hate speech. And a morally bankrupt global financial system that entrenches poverty and stymies recovery for developing countries,” Guterres said.
The UN chief gave a clarion call to the international community, saying “we can defeat these challenges” by embracing Gandhi’s values and working across cultures and borders to build a better, more peaceful future for all.
He said nations can do this by securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people – especially the most vulnerable, and girls and women who are too often denied their basic rights. “By taking concrete action for inclusion, recognising multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies as a richness, not a threat,” he said.
Guterres said nations can do this by investing in people’s health, education, decent jobs, and social protection to prevent people from falling and catch them when they do; by ensuring access to financing and debt relief for all countries; by supporting developing countries as they build resilient infrastructure and protect populations from the impacts of climate change, while also accelerating the transition from planet-killing fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. According to the General Assembly resolution of June 2007, which established the commemoration, International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”.
The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and non-violence”.
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