International Day of Peace

(NATCOM) BASSETERRE St. Kitts, September 11, 2014 – Established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly, and first observed in September 1982, The International Day of Peace is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace within and among nations. In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, establishing September 21 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

This year which marks the 30th anniversary, the selected theme is: The Right of Peoples to Peace. As postulated by the United Nations  essentially , the culture of peace and non-violence is a commitment to peace-building, mediation, conflict prevention and resolution, peace education, education for non-violence, tolerance, acceptance, mutual respect, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. It is a conceptual as well as a normative framework envisaged to inspire thoughts and actions on the part of everyone. This entails not just more factual knowledge, but the broadening of our consciousness and the willingness to develop a new awareness, of sharing this world.

Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova in her message to the nations this year, advocated that the right to peace is of utmost importance in light of the violence that seeks to tear the world apart. She shares the view that to build peace we must understand the new realities of war today and the way in which human lives and identities are under attack in Syria, Iraq and other places by violence intended to strike the cultural and religious values of peoples. She also pointed out as a reality, the hidden crisis facing education in conflicts relating to schools being targeted and education becoming a means of indoctrination and a tool to sow seeds of hatred.

In our pledge to foster a culture of peace we must all appreciate that every person has a right to peace and that the achievement of peace is a shared responsibility.  Conflict and wars are indicative of intolerance and the irrefutable threat to peace is alarming, but the achievement of peace in our nations, communities, our homes and schools is still possible. It was the famed Martin Luther King Jr. who said:

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to … the midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

Irina Bokova has challenged us to be bold, and invest more in levers to build lasting peace, through respect for human rights, human dignity and democratic values. She further stated that to counter discourses of hatred which aims to divide, and set cultures against each other, we must establish universal access to quality education.

Today the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO joins with UNESCO in its mission to continually chart the course for peace.  We call on the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis to stand as a nation, a country where peace abounds, on a united front, and in unison with the rest of the world to observe a moment of silence even in the wake of wars, conflicts and trouble, and   encourage national, regional and global peace and security for all.

September 12, 2014

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