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Secretary-General Dedicates ‘Tree of Peace and Unity’ to Mark End of Second World War, Establishment of United Nations

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the ceremony for the planting of the “Tree of Peace and Unity” to commemorate the end of the Second World War and the establishment of the United Nations, in New York today:

I thank the Government of Belarus and the many Member States that have joined together to make today’s ceremony possible.  In establishing the United Nations 70 years ago, the founders planted the seeds of an organization they hoped would lead the human family out of horror and into a better future.

The soil at that time ran deep with blood — the blood of the brave soldiers of many nations who died fighting fascism, and of the millions of victims of the Holocaust and the other crimes of the Second World War.  I am thinking of, again, tens of millions of civilians who had died without knowing why they had to die.

But, though the ground was troubled, the new Organization took root and grew.  It was nurtured by the flame of human rights, the burden-sharing of collective security and our common belief in human development.  Today, the United Nations can look back on a proud record of accomplishment.

But, we also know that there have been many setbacks along the path, and that today’s landscape is scarred by conflict and turmoil.  There is much distance still to travel until the seeds sown seven decades ago blossom into lives of dignity and peace for all.

In planting this tree today, we remember all those who have died and sacrificed in pursuing the mission set out in the Charter of the United Nations and we rededicate ourselves to the founding aims and ideals of the United Nations.

For information media. Not an official record.