“The war shaped our mission and its lessons guide our work”

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630442Tree Planting Credit UN Photo/Mark Garten

08 May 2015 – Today and tomorrow the UN observes the declared Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War. Whilst in Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled the “tremendous” shared sacrifice and the huge price of victory over fascism.

By resolution 59/26 of 22 November 2004, the UN General Assembly pays tribute to all victims of the Second World War.

In doing so, it stresses that this historic event established the conditions for the creation of the UN, designed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and calls upon the Member States to unite their efforts in dealing with new challenges and threats.

“The war shaped our mission and its lessons guide our work,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on May 7th at a High-level Panel on the Commemoration of the end of World War II in Gdansk, Poland.

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe

At the event, Mr Ban stressed that the key principles of the UN Charter and all modern principles of international law were formulated as direct responses to the war. This includes principles of non-aggression, the peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for human rights.

The Secretary-General asserted that the commemoration comes at a crucial time for Europe, as the continent faces a number of challenges that require cooperation, including in dealing with the tragic and destructive conflict in Ukraine and a number of protracted conflicts plaguing the region.

Remembering the countless victims who lost their lives

Earlier this week, Mr Ban planted a 'Tree of Peace and Unity' at UN Headquarters in New York, to remember the countless victims who lost their lives.

“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,” he stated, emphasizing that the UN was born out of this troubled ground so as to lead the world “out of horror and into peace.”

Recognizing the setbacks along this path, the Secretary-General stated “There is much distance still to travel until the seeds sown seven decades ago blossom into lives of dignity and peace for all.”