UN Chief Antonio Guterres pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, says “the world needs to heed his message of peace”

He urged all countries to come together as one human family and heed the principle of peace “like never before” to fight against the common enemy of humanity — COVID-19.

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, made a united call to the international communities to abide by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence “usher in a new era of peace and tolerance,” on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, which coincides with the International Day of Non-Violence on October 2. 

“Hatred, division and conflict have had their day. It’s time to usher in a new era of peace, truth and tolerance. On this International Day of Non-Violence -Gandhi’s birthday – let’s heed his message of peace, and commit to building a better future for all,” Guterres tweeted on Saturday, paying tribute to the activists on his 152nd birth anniversary.

Later, in his address for the International Day of Non-Violence, he reiterated Gandhi’s philosophy of Non-Violence, stating that “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.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic dividing communities and making a devastating impact on economies, Guterres added that we should “recognize, 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,” stating that the solution to the challenges posed by conflicts, climate change, poverty and other inequalities that plague us, is solidarity. 

He urged all countries to come together as one human family and heed the principle of peace “like never before” to fight against the common enemy of humanity. “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. We urgently need to deliver lifesaving vaccines and treatment, and support countries in the long road to recovery ahead” he said.

He concluded his statement, calling for a global action plan to combat social evils and environmental crises that divide the world. “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,” he asserted. 

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