António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (/ɡʊˈtɛrəs/; European Portuguese: [ɐ̃ˈtɔnju ɡuˈtɛʁɨʃ]; born 30 April 1949)) is the ninth United Nations Secretary General, and was the Prime Minister of Portugal (from 1995 to 2002) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (from June 2005 to December 2015)
- We can't deter people fleeing for their lives. They will come. The choice we have is how well we manage their arrival, and how humanely.
- "U.N. Refugee Chief: Europe’s Response to Mediterranean Crisis Is ‘Lagging Far Behind’", Time (23 April 2015)
- The dramatic problems of today's complex world can only inspire a humble approach.
- Quoted in "UN General Assembly elects Guterres as secretary-general", Chicago Tribune (13 October 2016)
- When I was growing up reading history books as a young student, it seemed all wars had a winner. Yet in today's wars, it is increasingly clear that no one wins. Everyone loses.
- We must move beyond the mutual fear that is driving decisions and attitudes around the world. It is time for leaders to listen and show that they care about their own people, and about the global stability and solidarity on which we all depend. It is time for all of us to remember the values of our common humanity, the values that are fundamental to all religions and that form the basis of the U.N. Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity. All those with power and influence have a particular responsibility to recommit to these ideals. We face enormous global challenges. They can be solved only if we work together.
- The greatest shortcoming of the international community today is its failure to prevent conflict and maintain global security.
- Quoted in 10 Things You Didn't Know About António Guterres, by Deidre McPhillips, U.S. News and World Report, (20 Feb. 2017)
- Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat.
- António Guterres, "Secretary-General's remarks on Climate Change", 10 September 2018.
- When climate change is running faster than we are, everything must be done to defeat climate change.
- Said in a visit to Nigeria in 2019. Recorded in an Instagram post on UN Environment
- There are ways to what is our major battle in the world. To defeat climate change - to save the planet.
- Said in a visit to Nigeria. Recorded in an Instagram post on UN Environment
- The transatlantic slave trade is one of the biggest crimes in the history of humankind. And we continue to live in its shadow. We can only move forward by confronting the racist legacy of slavery together.
- Twitter, (25 March 2020)
- I have called for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world...
- Twitter, (25 March 2020)
- The @UN appeal for a global ceasefire appeal continues to resonate across the world. I'm deeply grateful to all @UN Messengers of Peace, #GlobalGoals Advocates, and the more than one million people who have made their voice heard in support of peace.
- Twitter (4 April 2020)
- We must end all violence – from the warzone to the home. 124 Member states and observers so far have answered my call for peace at home during the #COVID19 crisis. Now more than ever, there must be zero tolerance for violence against women and girls.
- Twitter (11 April 2020)
- We cannot allow the #COVID19 crisis to also become a hunger crisis. We must unite to defeat it and support the poorest and the most vulnerable.
- https://twitter.com/antonioguterres/status/1249750824642850820 Twitter] (13 April 2020)
- As the world fights #COVID19, we are also fighting an epidemic of harmful falsehoods & lies. I'm announcing a new @UN Communications Response initiative to spread facts & science, countering the scourge of misinformation - a poison putting more lives at risk.
- Twitter (14 April 2020)
- My position on racism is crystal clear: this scourge violates the UN Charter and debases our core values. Every day, in our work across the world, we strive to do our part to promote inclusion, justice, dignity and combat racism in all its manifestations.
- Twitter (9 June 2020)
- There is more than enough food in the world to feed our population of 7.8 billion. But, today, more than 820 million people are hungry & #COVID19 is making things worse. To eradicate hunger, we must ensure inclusive access to healthy and nutritious food.
- Twitter (9 June 2020)
- We all need to stand in solidarity with those least able to protect themselves from #COVID19.This is not only the right thing to do -- it is the only way we will overcome this crisis.
- Twitter (13 June 2020)
- The health of humanity depends on the health of the planet. Today, we are gradually killing our planet. On Desertification and Drought Day, I call for scaling up of land restoration & nature-based solutions for #ClimateAction.
- Twitter (16 June 2020)
- As we work to build back better after #COVID19, let’s put nature where it belongs -- at the heart of our decision making. The global community must commit to a green and resilient future.
- Twitter (17 June 2020)
- The death of a partner can leave many women without rights to inheritance or property. It’s time to end discriminatory laws that deny women equal rights to men & ensure access to social protection.
- Twitter (22 June 2020)
- As we mark the 75th anniversary of the @UN Charter, we must reimagine the way nations cooperate. We need an effective multilateralism with scale, ambition and teeth.
- Twitter (25 June 2020)
- Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of #COVID19 but 40% of the global population lacks basic handwashing facilities at home. We need safe water supply & sanitation services to prevent & contain the current & future pandemics...
- Twitter, (9 July 2020)
- COVID19 has deepened existing inequalities & vulnerabilities for women & girls. On Saturday's #WorldPopulationDay and every day, we must protect the rights of women and girls, end gender-based violence and safeguard sexual and reproductive health care.
- Twitter, (10 July 2020)
- 690 million people in the world are hungry – almost 9% of the entire population of the planet. Many more people could slip into hunger this year. We must make food systems more sustainable and healthy diets affordable & accessible for all.
- Twitter, (14 July 2020)
- Hunger is an outrage in a world of plenty. An empty stomach is a gaping hole in the heart of a society
- Quoted in UN Warns of an Impending Famine With Millions in Danger of Starvation, By Thalif Deen, IPS, (27 November 2020)
- If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today. The destruction of media offices and the killing of a journalist in Gaza are extremely concerning. Journalists must be able to carry out their essential work, including in conflict zones, without fear of attack and harassment. They must be protected and respected. I am deeply distressed by damage to United Nations facilities in Gaza. United Nations premises are inviolable, including during armed conflict. Humanitarian installations must be respected and protected. United Nations agencies and our partners continue to provide aid to the people of Gaza... Access for humanitarian goods is paramount. Attacks by militant groups on areas surrounding crossing points are unacceptable. At the same time, Israel has a duty to allow and facilitate rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian aid – including food, fuel and medical supplies – into Gaza.Meanwhile, rockets fired by militants in Gaza have reached as far as Tel Aviv and its suburbs and Ben Gurion airport, claiming civilian lives, causing hundreds of injuries, and damaging residential and commercial property. Even wars have rules. First and foremost, civilians must be protected... Indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians and civilian property, are violations of the laws of war...
- I urge the Israeli authorities to abide by the laws governing armed conflict, including the proportionate use of force. I call on them to exercise maximum restraint in the conduct of military operations. I likewise urge Hamas and other militant groups to stop the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars from highly populated civilian neighbourhoods into civilian population centres in Israel, also in clear violation of international humanitarian law. Densely populated civilian areas must not be used for military purposes. But above all, what we must - and I am repeating my appeal - what we must achieve is an immediate ceasefire. I am also deeply concerned by the continuation of violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where several Palestinian families are under the threat of eviction. These developments were preceded by weeks of tension, including around the Holy Sites. I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. All settlement activities, including evictions and demolitions, are illegal under international law. A revitalized peace process is the only route to a just and lasting solution...Only through renewing our commitment and redoubling our efforts towards a negotiated solution can we bring this cruel violence and hatred to a definitive end.
- Secretary-General’s Remarks to the General Assembly Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East and Palestine, United Nations Secretary-General, Statements, (20 May 2021)
- We are seeing Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades.
Day after day, I have been clear that such unilateral measures conflict directly with the United Nations Charter.
The Charter is clear: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold.
This applies to the present military offensive.
It is wrong.
It is against the Charter.
It is unacceptable.
But it is not irreversible.
I repeat my appeal from last night to President Putin:
Stop the military operation.
Bring the troops back to Russia.
We know the toll of war.
With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine.
People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price.
- Since the beginning of the Russian invasion one month ago, the war has led to the senseless loss of thousands of lives; the displacement of ten million people, mainly women and children; the systematic destruction of essential infrastructure; and skyrocketing food and energy prices worldwide.
This must stop. ... A cessation of hostilities will allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered and enable civilians to move around safely. It will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians.
- I am pleased that more than 100 civilians have successfully been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, in an operation successfully coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
I hope the continued coordination with Kyiv and Moscow will lead to more humanitarian pauses that will allow civilians safe passage away from the fighting and aid to reach people where the needs are greatest.
- We have a choice, collective action or collective suicide.
- Jesus Jiménez "U.N. chief warns that humanity faces 'collective suicide' over climate crisis.", The New York Times, 18 July 2022.
- With our bottomless appetite for unchecked and unequal economic growth, humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction. We are treating nature like a toilet. And ultimately, we are committing suicide by proxy
- while addressing the participants at the opening of the 15th session of the UN biodiversity conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada. Vishwa Mohan. "Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction: Antonio Guterres at COP15", timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 7 December 2022.
Remarks to the press on the war in Ukraine (14 March 2022) edit
- "Secretary-General's opening remarks to the press on the war in Ukraine" (14 March 2022) - Telegraph video: "Russia-Ukraine war: UN chief says nuclear war a 'possibility' in 'bone-chilling' development"
- Ukraine is on fire.
The country is being decimated before the eyes of the world.
The impact on civilians is reaching terrifying proportions.
Countless innocent people – including women and children – have been killed.
After being hit by Russian forces, roads, airports and schools lie in ruins.
According to the World Health Organization, at least 24 health facilities have suffered attacks.
Hundreds of thousands of people are without water or electricity.
With each passing hour, two things are increasingly clear:
First — it keeps getting worse.
Second — whatever the outcome, this war will have no winners, only losers.
- I am deeply grateful for the solidarity of Ukraine’s neighbours and other host countries, who have taken in more than 2.8 million refugees in the past two weeks.
The vast majority of those making the treacherous journey are women and children who are increasingly vulnerable.
For predators and human traffickers, war is not a tragedy.
It is an opportunity.
And women and children are the targets.
They need safety and support every step of the way.
I will continue to highlight the desperate plight of the people of Ukraine as I am doing again today.
Yet there is another dimension of this conflict that gets obscured.
This war goes far beyond Ukraine.
It is also an assault on the world’s most vulnerable people and countries.
While war rains over Ukraine, a sword of Damocles hangs over the global economy – especially in the developing world.
Even before the conflict, developing countries were struggling to recover from the pandemic – with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens.
Their ability to respond has been erased by exponential increases in the cost of financing.
Now their breadbasket is being bombed.
Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat.
Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s wheat supply.
- In the coming days, we will be consulting with Member States willing to champion the actions needed to carry forward the global emergency response that will be required for these looming crises.
Make no mistake: everyday people, especially women and children, will bear the brunt of this unfolding tragedy.
The war also shows how the global addiction to fossil fuels is placing energy security, climate action and the entire global economy at the mercy of geopolitics.
Finally, further escalation of the war, whether by accident or design, threatens all of humanity.
Raising the alert of Russian nuclear forces is a bone-chilling development.
The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.
The security and safety of nuclear facilities must also be preserved.
It’s time to stop the horror unleashed on the people of Ukraine and get on the path of diplomacy and peace.
I have been in close contact with a number of countries – including China, France, Germany, India, Israel and Turkey – on mediation efforts to bring an end to this war.
The appeals for peace must be heard.
This tragedy must stop.
It is never too late for diplomacy and dialogue.
We need an immediate cessation of hostilities and serious negotiations based on the principles of the UN Charter and international law.
We need peace.
Peace for the people of Ukraine.
Peace for the world.
We need peace now.
Remarks to press on the war in Ukraine (22 March 2022) edit
- "Secretary-General's remarks to press on the war in Ukraine" (22 March 2022) - "Ukraine: 'Time to End this Absurd War' - UN Chief | United Nations" video
- One month ago, the Russian Federation launched a massive invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine in violation of the UN Charter.
It was done after months of building up a military force of overwhelming proportion along the Ukrainian border.
Since then, we have seen appalling human suffering and destruction in cities, towns and villages.
Systematic bombardments that terrorise civilians.
The shelling of hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and shelters.
And all of it is intensifying — getting more destructive and more unpredictable by the hour.
- The only outcome to all this is more suffering, more destruction, and more horror as far as the eye can see.
The Ukrainian people are enduring a living hell — and the reverberations are being felt worldwide with skyrocketing food, energy and fertilizer prices threatening to spiral into a global hunger crisis.
- This war is unwinnable. Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table.
That is inevitable.
The only question is:
How many more lives must be lost?
How many more bombs must fall?
How many Mariupols must be destroyed?
How many Ukrainians and Russians will be killed before everyone realizes that this war has no winners — only losers?
How many more people will have to die in Ukraine, and how many people around the world will have to face hunger for this to stop?
Continuing the war in Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensical.
What I said from this podium almost one month ago should be even more evident today.
By any measure — by even the shrewdest calculation — it is time to stop the fighting now and give peace a chance.
It is time to end this absurd war.
Remarks at the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine (5 April 2022) edit
- Transcript: Secretary-General's remarks at the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine (5 April 2022) — Video: UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine (5 April 2022)
- The war in Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order and the global peace architecture, founded on the United Nations Charter.
Because of its nature, intensity, and consequences.
We are dealing with the full-fledged invasion, on several fronts, of one Member State of the United Nations, Ukraine, by another, the Russian Federation — a Permanent Member of the Security Council — in violation of the United Nations Charter, and with several aims, including redrawing the internationally-recognized borders between the two countries.
The war has led to senseless loss of life, massive devastation in urban centres, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.
I will never forget the horrifying images of civilians killed in Bucha.
I immediately called for an independent investigation to guarantee effective accountability.
- The war in Ukraine must stop — now.
We need serious negotiations for peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter.
This Council is charged with maintaining peace — and doing so in solidarity.
I deeply regret the divisions that have prevented the Security Council from acting not only on Ukraine, but on other threats to peace and security around the world.
I urge the Council to do everything in its power to end the war and to mitigate its impact, both on the suffering people of Ukraine, and on vulnerable people and developing countries around the world.
Opening remarks at press conference with President of Ukraine (28 April 2022) edit
- "Secretary-General's opening remarks at press conference with President of Ukraine", UN.org (28 April 2022)
- Today, Ukraine is an epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain.
I witnessed that very vividly today around Kyiv: the senseless loss of life, the massive destruction, the unacceptable violations of human rights and the laws of war.
It is vital that the International Criminal Court and other UN mechanisms conduct their work so that there can be real accountability.
- The position of the United Nations is clear.
As I said in Moscow, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and of the Charter of the United Nations.
I am here to focus on ways on how the UN can expand support for the people of Ukraine, saving lives, reduce suffering and help find the path of peace.
I want the Ukrainian people to know that the world sees you, hears you, and is in awe of your resilience and resolve.
I also know that words of solidarity are not enough.
I am here to zero in on needs on the ground and scale up operations.
Let me be very clear. The Security Council failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war. This is a source of great disappointment, frustration and anger.
But the men and women of the United Nations are working every day for the people of Ukraine, side by side with so many brave Ukrainian organizations.
- This is one of the fastest scale-up operations we have ever undertaken, and we are very much aware that not everything is perfect. Whatever we can provide pales in comparison to the needs.
I am here to pledge that we will boost our efforts across the board — coordinating with the Ukrainian Government every step of the way.
- This is not a typical humanitarian UN operation in a developing country, with lots of problems of governance and lots of difficulties. Ukraine is a country with a government and a system of support to its citizens, and so the role of the UN is not replace that system, it is to support the Government to support the people of Ukraine.
- All this work is essential, but it doesn’t address the root cause of all this human suffering: the war itself.
This war must end, and peace must established in line the charter of the United Nations and international law.
Many leaders have made many good efforts to stop the fighting, though these efforts, so far, have not succeeded.
I am here to say to you, Mr. President, and to the people of Ukraine: We will not give up.
As we keep pushing for a full-scale ceasefire, we will also keep striving for immediate practical steps to save lives and reduce human suffering.
Effective humanitarian corridors. Local cessations of hostilities. Safe passage for civilian and supply routes.
Today, the people of Mariupol are in desperate need for just such an approach.
Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis.
Thousands of civilians need life-saving assistance.
Many are elderly, in need of medical care or have limited mobility.
They need an escape route out of the apocalypse.
During my visit to Moscow, President Putin agreed, in principle, to the involvement of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
Today, President Zelenskyy and I had the opportunity to address this issue.
As we speak, there are in intense discussions to move forward on this proposal to make it a reality.
- In many ways, we are at ground zero for the world we need to build — a world of respect for international law, the UN Charter and the power of multilateralism, a world that protects civilians, a world that advances human rights, a world where leaders live up to the values that they have promised to uphold.
That, too, is a struggle — but it is one that we must win for the sake of every country, community and person around the world.
- Also quoted in "'The world sees you' UN chief tells Ukrainians, pledging to boost support" UN News (28 April 2022)
- Variant translation:
- Now we are at ground zero as regards the world we need to build. A world of respect for international law, the UN Charter, and the power of multilateralism. A world where civilians have protection. Where human rights are a priority. Where leaders live up to the declared values they have committed to. It is also a struggle, but we must win it for the sake of every country, community and person around the world.
- My heart goes out to the people of Türkiye and Syria in this hour of tragedy. I send my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The United Nations is fully committed to supporting the response. Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance.
We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge.
- gender equality is “vanishing before our eyes...[it is] 300 years away.”
- We pay tribute to the resilience of the survivors. We recognize the journey of the Rwandan people towards healing, restoration, and reconciliation.
- First Lady: Kwibuka can’t be defined by the past 29 years. The New Times (7 April 2023)
- A generation since the Genocide, we must never forget what happened – and ensure future generations always remember.
- [The situation in the Middle East is] growing more dire by the hour.
- The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks by Hamas. Those horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,
- via tweet according to Israel-Hamas war live updates: U.S. calls for 'humanitarian pause' in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza as fuel and other supplies run dangerously low (20 HOURS AGO)
Quotes about Guterres edit
- Throughout his career, Mr. Guterres has proven himself to be an advocate for human rights and a champion for the most vulnerable. As UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he provided help and hope to millions of men, women and children who have been forced to flee from their homes. And he is a consensus-builder who can bring people together to advance common interests and address common challenges. I was heartened that Mr. Guterres indicated that gender equality will be a top priority when filling senior positions.
- We have every confidence that, as a former prime minister of Portugal and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Guterres has the character, vision and skills needed to lead the United Nations at this critical moment.
- Barack Obama, as quoted in "Obama pledges ‘full support’ for new U.N. secretary-general" by Dave Boyer, The Washington Times (13 October 2016)
- The nomination of Guterres, a male from Western Europe, came despite many calls for the role of secretary-general to go to a woman or individual from Eastern Europe. He has said, however, that more "gender parity" is necessary in the organization and named Amina J. Mohammed, Nigeria's former environment minister, as his deputy. In the decade he served as U.N. high commissioner for refugees, from 2005 to 2015, Guterres led the U.N. response to major crises in Syria, Ukraine, Gaza and others. The leader of Portugal's socialist party, Guterres was elected to two terms as prime minister using "heart and reason" as his campaign slogan.
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About António Guterres, by Deidre McPhillips, U.S. News and World Report, (20 Feb. 2017)
- At least 70 countries have signed on to the March 23 call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a worldwide ceasefire during the Covid-19 pandemic. Like non-essential business and spectator sports, war is a luxury that the Secretary General says we must manage without for a while. After U.S. leaders have told Americans for years that war is a necessary evil or even a solution to many of our problems, Mr. Guterres is reminding us that war is really the most nonessential evil and an indulgence that the world cannot afford – especially during a pandemic.
- Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, in UN Ceasefire Defines War as a Non-Essential Activity, Anti-War.com (12 April 2020)
- In his update on April 3rd, Guterres showed that he was taking his ceasefire call seriously, insisting on actual ceasefires, not just feel-good declarations. "…There is a huge distance between declarations and deeds," Guterres said. His original plea to "put armed conflict on lockdown" explicitly called on warring parties everywhere to "silence the guns, stop the artillery, end the airstrikes," not just to say that they would like to, or that they’ll consider it if their enemies do it first.
- Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday “there are reasons to hope” for progress toward ending the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict after years of inaction. He said the United Nations will explore all initiatives to facilitate “a true peace process” based on the two-state solution. Clearly referring to the former US administration without naming then-president Donald Trump, the UN chief said “we were completely locked down in a situation in which there was no progress visible.”..."We have tried for a long time to make the Quartet meet, but we never had the agreement of all the members for that to be possible... And we have tried to have inclusive other formulas — possible of an enlarged Quartet with several other important players in the region, and unfortunately, this has not been possible until now...I think it became possible now,” he said, but stressed that a peace process can only be successful if it is based on a two-state solution and “all the international agreements that already exist in this regard.” Guterres expressed hope that elections “in the state of Palestine” and elections in Israel “will also contribute to create a positive environment for the future of the peace process… and for the rights of the Palestinian people, namely, its right to self-determination and its right to independence, to be fully respected.”
See also edit
- Encyclopedic article on António Guterres on Wikipedia