Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
21 September 2021
I am glad to join so many people, especially young people at this digital gathering.
Many of you are actively working for a world of justice – a world without war, and without poverty; a thriving planet; a world in which everyone can access information and speak their minds freely – a world of dignity and human rights.
You are sending out a powerful message: we cannot continue on our current course.
We need new ways of living that will end the deprivation, discrimination, violence and repression that characterise the lives of tens of millions of people – and which drive instability and conflict.
I know you are as troubled as I am about the violence and hatred that are destroying lives, undermining development and eroding the foundations of peaceful coexistence.
I think we also share our deep concern about the human-induced environmental damage that is harming people and planet.
I am moved to see the strong, creative, positive work being done by so many young people and human rights activists across the world, to seek out solutions to these tough challenges.
Despite many recent setbacks to human rights, in every region, I see hope – including through the engagement of young leaders like you.
I continue to believe that with your advocacy and participation, States can recover from the COVID pandemic and find a new equilibrium, guided by human rights principles, that places people at the centre.
Together, we the people can build solutions to our world's toughest challenges.
This will require strong collaboration. No sector alone can slow climate change or reverse biodiversity loss. No single entity can end corruption or poverty, or promote equality for women, or for groups and communities who continue to endure generational discrimination.
Success depends on governments, companies, investors, educators, activists and citizens coming together to foster peace, protect human rights and achieve sustainable development.
And it depends on you, too.
In schools, in workplaces, in elections, in our neighbourhoods - in every context, we can work to uphold the human rights of everyone around us.
Thank you for doing that work.