Ahead of the International Day of Non-Violence, observed on 2 October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked the world to embrace Mahatma Gandhi’s values to defeat conflicts, climate chaos, poverty, and hunger.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
“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.
He called upon the world community for investing in people’s health, education, decent jobs, and social protection and ensuring access to financing and debt relief for all countries.
He suggested various methods to make the Gandhian philosophy more relevant in today’s time:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) And taking concrete action for inclusion, recognizing multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic societies as a richness, not a threat.
“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,” he said further.
The UN started observing the International Day of Non-Violence, on 2 October from 2007. The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.”