Gandhi Jayanti: UN chief issues clarion call for defeating COVID-19, humanity's common enemy

03:11 PM Oct 02, 2021 | PTI

United Nations: In a clarion call to the international community to heed Mahatma Gandhi's message of peace, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said combatants around the world should focus on defeating humanity's common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is no coincidence that we mark the International Day of Non-Violence on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. For Gandhi, non-violence, peaceful protest, dignity and equality were more than words. They represented a guiding light for humanity, a map to a better future," Guterres said in his message for the International Day of Non-Violence, observed on October 2.


He said non-violence, peaceful protest, dignity and equality also provide a template to address today's troubled times.


"Conflicts and climate change. Poverty and inequalities. Mistrust and divisions. All under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to devastate people and economies alike," the UN chief said.

On this year's observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, Guterres said "let us heed" Gandhi's message of peace, "and get down to the business of building a better and more peaceful future for all".

"We call on combatants around the world to lay down their arms and focus on defeating humanity's common enemy - COVID-19 - not one another," he said, underlining the urgent need to deliver life-saving vaccines and treatment, and support countries in the long road to recovery ahead.

Guterres emphasised that the solution to today's challenges is in "our hands: solidarity. We need to recognise, as Gandhi did, that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. That peace provides the only pathway to a better future for all." Addressing the challenges of the world means coming together as one human family and embracing peace like never before.

"We need to intensify our work to reduce inequalities and end poverty. We need a bold global plan of action to heal our planet. Most of all, we need to renew trust in one another. Hatred, division, conflict and mistrust have had their day. It is time to usher in a new era of peace, trust and tolerance," Guterres said.

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