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6 Excerpts From Ban Ki-Moon's Speech In New Delhi That India Should Pay Attention To

"No country can advance as long as its women are held back."

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On January 12, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi. In his speech he touched upon various topics of pertinence to life in the subcontinent, ranging from terrorism to women's rights. Here are the most impactful and encouraging things he said:

1. On LGBT rights:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "I am proud to stand for the equality of all people – including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I staunchly oppose the criminalisation of homosexuality. I speak out because laws criminalising consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination. Even if they are not enforced, these laws breed intolerance."

He added in a second speech the same day: "As you may know recently, last year, just a few months ago, I have made UN regulations change to allow the same entitlement to those staff who have different sexual orientations. I am very grateful to the Bollywood celebrities who have joined the United Nations Free & Equal campaign, especially Celina Jaitly and Imran Khan. They have reached millions of people with a message of equality."

2. On terrorism:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "Terrorist networks spread fear and instability across continents. We have seen such terrible things happen in Paris. In terms of number of people killed I think we have seen so many places. Most recently in Peshawar in Pakistan, 132 school children were killed. 12 journalists and policemen were killed in Paris. But they were striking at the heart of our freedom – our freedom of expression. That is why millions of people marched together with so many world leaders on Sunday. But anyway there is a lot of religious, racial and ethnic intolerance, which fuels conflicts and distorts development. Humanity can overcome these challenges by working in our shared interest, working as one, to have the strength of one become the strength of all. This is not a burdensome task – it is a rich opportunity."

3. On peace and Pakistan:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "The world is looking to India to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia. A secure regional environment will also help India reach its ambitious development goals. Regional stability requires engagement and collaboration. I welcome India's leadership in deepening cooperation in South Asia. As the world's largest democracy, India has important lessons for others. Across the region, political leaders must put aside long-standing grievances and seek new ways to peacefully end old disputes. This is especially the case for India and Pakistan."

4. On human rights:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "Diversity is one of India's most outstanding features. It is home to a mosaic of peoples from different cultures, ethnic groups, religions and languages. In India and all countries, individuals are born free and equal. People deserve respect, dignity and security regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity."

5. On minority education:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "Today India has laws that not only enshrine equality but also take positive steps to address past discrimination. But millions of Dalits, Tribals and others still face discrimination, especially the women and girls. In too many communities, religious minorities also suffer. In addressing many difficult challenges, I think education is one of the keys. Schools should be gardens of global citizenship – not battlegrounds of divisive ideologies."

6. On women's rights:

AFP / Getty Images SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The complete excerpt: "No country can advance as long as its women are held back. I have been saying that while in our world we use lot of different resources, technologies, the least-utilized resource in our human lives is women. More than half the world's population are women. Then it is only natural that if we cannot give more, then at least they should be given equal treatment, equal status. That is why as Secretary-General, I have been promoting gender equality and empowerment. I try to lead by example, so other world leaders and business leaders can emulate the United Nations' example."

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