United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons Statements

August 29, 2013

English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文

The UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon gave the Annual Leiden Freedom Lecture, in the Netherlands, on 28 August 2013 and made a number of strong points relevant to human rights defenders:

  • Surveillance without safeguards to protect the right to privacy hampers fundamental freedoms.
  • People should feel secure in the knowledge that their private communications are not being unduly or unjustly scrutinised by the State.
  • In far too many places, we see opposition and obstacles to freedoms. It could come in the form of costly law enforcement machinery to sanction or spy on those who speak out.
  • Those disclosing information on matters that have implications for human rights need to be protected [re reprisals see reference below]
  • I will continue to stress the importance of empowering women and girls. Societies cannot be free if half their citizens cannot pursue their full potential.
  • Bans on minarets and other restrictions drive wedges in society by targeting minorities and migrant communities.
  • Protecting freedom is not free. But curtailing freedom also carries a heavy price. When people do not have a means to channel grievances – when they are not allowed to speak out, protest peacefully or exercise their democratic rights, stability will suffer.
  • I tell leaders “If you do not listen to your people, you will hear from them – in the streets, in the squares, or most tragically on the battlefield”.
  • Here in Europe … I make a special plea for tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity and the rights of migrants and refugees.
  • Thanks to human rights activism across the globe, nearly 40 countries have decriminalized same-sex relations. … I have sought to lead the way at the United Nations as a proud defender of LGBT equality.


In a recent report to the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (doc ref: United Nations A /HRC/24/29) on ‘Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights” one can read clearly – in spite of the diplomatic language used – about the continued practice of reprisals by a number of States against HRDs that speak with or give information to the UN and its mechanisms.  

for the full report: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons Statements.


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