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UNIS/SGSM/1218
23 March 2022

The Secretary-General

Message on the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

24 March 2022

The International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and the Dignity of Victims reminds us that truth is a powerful light.

A light that shines on violations that perpetrators would prefer to remain hidden.

A light that reveals a path towards peace, justice and reparation for victims, and compels countries to meet their obligations under international law.

And a light that illuminates the underlying causes of these violations, so that we can prevent them from taking root.

When the light of truth is extinguished, societies are plunged into a dark world of threat, lies and mistrust.

Those who would violate human rights — those with intentions to harm, control and even kill — are emboldened to act with impunity.

On this important day, we renew our commitment to lifting the veil on these gross violations, and helping societies heal divisions, reconcile in peace, and gather as one to support and protect the health, safety, dignity and opportunity of every person.

We must heed the words of Monsignor Oscar Romero, who was murdered on this day 42 years ago for speaking out against injustice and inequality in El Salvador. He reminded us that “the ones who have a voice must speak for those who are voiceless.”

May his courageous fight for truth illuminate our own work to promote and protect human rights all around the world.

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