World Peace Day
International Day of Peace, unofficially sometimes also called World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed on September 21st annually. It is dedicated to world peace, specifically the absence of war and violence, and the presence of peace worldwide. The day was first celebrated in 1981 and is observed by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people across the world. In 2013, the Secretary-General of the United Nations dedicated the day to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably. But, one should not get confused with “International Day of Peace” and “World Peace Day” with World Day of Peace.
To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell situated at UN headquarter in NY (New York City) is rung. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”; the inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”.
Why “International Day of Peace”
“War is the biggest obstacle to peace”- This line quoted from an unknown writer gives us the real meaning of war and peace. The International Day of Peace celebrates the power of global solidarity for building a peaceful and sustainable world. In Nepal, this day has been celebrated since 2065 BS only. Therefore this is still a new practice for our country Nepal but is celebrated all over the world every year for the purpose of world peace.
New forces of division are emerging, spreading hatred and intolerance. Terrorism is fuelling violence, and these violent extremists are attempting to poison the minds of the young and vulnerable ones. The least-developed and or poor countries of the world are more prone to be poisoned by these extremists which might as well heighten the risk of more violence. And, the aftermath of these acts of violence could lead to a mass exodus as we have been seeing for the last ten years or so. Especially a mass displacement of people from the middle eastern and surrounding countries to Europe and other regions of the world. An intense flow of immigrants to different parts of the world due to the violence and war.
Yes, the barriers to peace are very complex and steep indeed, nobody or not just one country can solve them alone. A new form of solidarity and joint action, that too, starting as early as possible is needed to stop This madness of war raging everywhere in the name of various things ranging from religion to country frontiers, etc.
The main purpose of the United Nations Charter issued in the year 1945 after the Second world war was to “establish peace by stopping the war.” The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, emphasizes that “the recognition of rights is the establishment of justice and peace.”
Peace is the foundation of the development of any country anywhere. Peace is not only the base of development but also an invaluable right of human beings on this planet. One’s right to peace is to be free, free from war, violence, riots, and all kinds of unrest that can hinder one’s everyday living. Nowadays, the right to peace has become a fundamental part of international law also. The right to peace is more important than any other fundamental right since all forms and kinds of human rights can only be enjoyed in peaceful conditions only. As a coin has two sides, in the same way in today’s world also there is a desire for peace on one hand and a desire for violence on the other because one is a good force whereas another is a bad one. Both of them being a force, the world is committed to reducing the power of violence by promoting the power of peace.
In the context of Nepal, which is celebrating this day since 2065 BS only, International Peace Day is celebrated in remembrance of the end of 12 years-long armed conflict and civil unrest when Nepal lost thousands of precious human lives. After years of harsh turmoil and unrest, the country began institutionalizing the peace process. With different political parties in one place and with Human rights organizations in the other the decade-long turmoil was terminated forever. To mark this historical day International peace day is celebrated in Nepal. As mentioned above, the foundation of the development of any country depends on lasting internal and external peace, therefore a country cannot develop without peace. That is why the Government of Nepal, committed to peace, has been working by forming the “Ministry of Peace” and the “Secretariats of the Peace Committees” in all the districts of the country.
The United Nations has been issuing declarations from time to time combining the rights of peace and other violent activities taking place in the world. In a developing country like Nepal where there has been a long and strong conflict, it is very necessary to have more peace debates between concerned authorities so that there is no more conflict in the future, and peace is restored forever. People want peace on the one hand and violence on the other because lots of times, the same person has different qualities. Peace and violence, it is like a coin that has two sides and the whole world is now in distress between violence and peace.
Violence and peace both are opposite forces. In the current situation, peace is and has become an international agenda. There is a growing belief that people can be different in color, language, culture, religion, citizenship, ideas, food, and desires but the peace agenda must be shared for world welfare, it must not be based on any community or their ideas, etc. Peace is a culture as well. If a child is raised in a peaceful culture that child would grow up to be a peaceful person if there is no external influence. One does not need to go anywhere to find peace, everyone has it within oneself. It is present in every one of us i.e. it has to be in the human mind, the thing is one must just realize it from within.
In the end
As mentioned above, Peace must be in the human mind and one must realize it from within. Therefore, peace can be established in society only when every human being can remove violence from the mind and give place to peace instead of violence. State also has the responsibility to plant the seed of peace in the heart and minds of the people. It is also the responsibility of the state to create this environment in the human brain. By doing so the state can be sure to a certain extent that there would be no more violence.
Establishing a culture of peace and sustainable development without violence is at the core of UNESCO’s mandate, therefore, this day is celebrated by providing Training and Research programs in sustainable development as well as human rights education, skills for peaceful relations, good governance, holocaust remembrance, along with issues as how to prevent conflict, and peacebuilding process. International Peace Day is meaningful only if peace is established in society. On the occasion of International Peace Day, government bodies and non-governmental organizations including the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction organize various programs across the country. The ministry holds a light procession at Shanti Batika in the capital on this occasion and different Human Rights organizations organize different kinds of programs to observe as well as to diffuse the information to the public about this day and its importance. International Peace Day will hold meaning only if peace is established in society thus, different organizations that support the peace process celebrate this day by organizing seminars, gatherings, and rallies on this day.
In Nepal, on this occasion, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction has been awarding the best district among the peace committees in 75 districts every year. These kinds of awards are awarded to Individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace process. Some even receive Awards on the occasion of International Peace Day for their contribution in enhancing society at the international level. But, awards, Light Procession, or any kind of program do not hold any importance nor does it help to enhance peace and reduce violence as long as people are not educated about this day. Until and unless they are not educated about this day and the importance of this day all the programs mentioned above cannot have any importance or meaning at all. To Read this article in the Nepali Language please click here.