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The Secretary-General’s message on International Volunteer Day 2014

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5 December 2014 - An ambulance rushes a wounded child to a hospital. A hungry family receives a warm meal. A battered woman finds free shelter. In scenes of human suffering around the world, hope comes thanks to volunteers who give their time, skills and resources to others in need.

International Volunteer Day is a chance to thank the many individuals who act with this spirit of giving, and to encourage others to follow their example. When an earthquake destroys homes, volunteers prove that human solidarity is shatterproof. When looters aim for cultural property, volunteers safeguard community treasures. When development is lagging, volunteers help enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.

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The Secretary-General’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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3 December 2014 - This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities focuses on the theme, “sustainable development: the promise of technology”.  

Technology has changed the world, bringing knowledge within reach and expanding a range of opportunities. Persons with disabilities can benefit enormously from such advances, yet too many lack access to these essential tools.   

As the international community works to develop an ambitious and inspiring post-2015 development agenda that leaves no-one behind, we must harness the power of technology for development for all.

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The Secretary-General’s message on World AIDS Day 2014

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1 December 2014 - On this World AIDS Day, I welcome the tremendous progress the world is making in responding to the AIDS epidemic. This year, world leaders made a commitment to end AIDS by 2030. The Fast Track approach launched last week will enable us to reach this goal.

Almost 14 million people worldwide are now accessing HIV treatment. We have reduced new HIV infections by 38 per cent since 2001. We have prevented 1.16 million infections among newborn babies by providing essential antiretroviral medicines. We are on track to provide antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 and to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions within the next few years. Thanks to the dedication and energy of many partners including those in civil society, we continue to tackle and remove laws that stigmatise and discriminate. Progress is accelerating.

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The Secretary-General’s message for the International day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people

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29 November 2014 - We have passed through another somber, sad and sorry year for Palestinians, Israelis and all who seek peace. Over the course of 50 brutal days this summer, the world witnessed a ruthless war in Gaza - the third such conflict in six years.

I travelled to the region twice in recent months. First, to help end the fighting -- and second to see the aftermath and support the massive reconstruction efforts.

I repeat what I said in Gaza: I condemn the Hamas rocket attacks that indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians. They have brought nothing but suffering to all sides.

I repeat what I said in Israel: The scale of the destruction by the Israeli military has left deep questions about respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality, and generated wide calls for accountability. Much more must be done to protect civilians and abide by international human rights and humanitarian law.

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Secretary-General’s message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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25 November 2014 - Sexual and gender-based violence is the most extreme form of the global and systemic inequality experienced by women and girls. It knows no geographic, socio-economic or cultural boundaries. Worldwide, one in three women will suffer physical or sexual violence at some point in her life, from rape and domestic violence to harassment at work and bullying on the internet.
This year alone, more than 200 girls have been kidnapped in Nigeria; we have seen graphic testimony from Iraqi women of rape and sexual slavery during conflict; two Indian schoolgirls were raped, killed and hung from a tree; and in the United States, there have been high-profile cases of sexual violence on sports teams and university campuses.

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Secretary-General’s message on Universal Children's Day

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20 November 2014 - The one thing all children have in common is their rights.  Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard.  

These are innate human rights, as inalienable as those held by adults.  But until 1989, these rights were not formally articulated in a legally binding instrument, nor were governments fully accountable to advance these rights for every child.

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Secretary-General’s message on World Toilet Day

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19 November 2014 - One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets. As a result they face disease, shame and potential violence when they seek a place to defecate.

A staggering 1.25 billion women and girls would enjoy greater health and increased safety with improved sanitation. Evidence also shows safe and clean toilets encourage girls to stay in school.

We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility. That is why the theme for this year's World Toilet Day focuses on "Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation."

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The Secretary-General’s message on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

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16 November 2014 - I am continually inspired by the potential of youth to transform society. The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a sobering reminder that crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 29 years old.

Road traffic crashes also claim many younger victims, with more than 500 children killed each day as they travel to and from school, playgrounds and the homes of family and friends. Millions of other people of all ages are seriously injured.

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The Secretary-General’s message on World Diabetes Day

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14 November 2014 - As the world rightly copes with infectious diseases such as influenza, malaria and, especially recently, the Ebola virus, World Diabetes Day is a reminder that non-communicable diseases pose an even greater threat to human health.

Diabetes affects more than 350 million people in the world. Many will suffer from its debilitating complications and die prematurely. Cardiovascular disease kills half of all people with diabetes, which is among the leading causes of kidney failure.

Often misunderstood as a disease associated with affluent lifestyles, diabetes

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