Discursos de bienvenida

Welcome Words

Opening remarks by Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

At the exhibition of photographs by Daniel Hernández-Salazar
entitled “So that all shall know”
Palais des Nations, Salle des pas perdus
Thursday, 13 December 2007, at 6:30 p.m.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Palais des Nations on the occasion of the opening of this evening’s exhibition of photographs entitled, “So that all shall know”. Allow me to first extend my appreciation to Ambassador Martínez Alvarado and Ambassador Godet, as well as the Permanent Missions of Guatemala and Switzerland for their valuable contribution to the UNOG Cultural Activities Programme through this evening’s exhibition. May I also commend the work of Daniel Hernández-Salazar whose photographs are displayed here this evening and which recap the tragic historical events that unfolded in his country.

These images, which present a compelling account of a society once torn apart by the horrors of war, are a mark of respect to all the innocent people who suffered the terrible consequences of this conflict. As the title of the exhibition suggests, everyone must know. We must all remember. We owe it to the memory of the victims because human suffering is the same, whenever and wherever war and injustice occur.

These photographs also tell the story of a people’s desire to overcome the past and rebuild their country. While much has been achieved in Guatemala over the past decade, many challenges remain. Indeed, the closure of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) in 2004 did not mean the end of the peace process, but rather, the beginning of a new phase. The United Nations is committed to working hand in hand with the Government and people of Guatemala to help them address the legacy of a violent past and shape a safe, just and prosperous future. The recent decision by Guatemala’s legislature to approve the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala sent a clear message to the world that it is committed to protecting the rule of law and safeguarding the security of its peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We can make a difference for future generations. The world has a collective “responsibility to protect” and, as individuals, we must never be complacent in the face of violence and oppression. I invite you to enjoy this evening’s exhibition in that spirit.

Thank you very much.