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 Magazine (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)
Quotes about Guterres
- 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)
- The UN Secretary General and the European Union have also both called for a suspension of the economic warfare that the US wages against other countries through unilateral coercive sanctions. Countries under unilateral US sanctions include Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe.
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.”
- Encyclopedic article on António Guterres at Wikipedia