Tomorrow is the United Nations World Day of Peace and we all need to be channels of peace though the big powers like the United States, while talking of peace, provide bombs to the Saudi Arabia led coalition which recently dropped one such bomb, killing scores of schoolchildren in Yemen.
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people. The UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 because they understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere, and ensure that their rights were protected. The Sustainable Goals cover a broad range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice, the UN says.
The theme for 2018 is “The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations. The Universal Declaration – the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages is as relevant today as it was on the day it was adopted.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a message to mark the event says “It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.”
The Universal Declaration states in Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” These elements build the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Yet, the Universal Declaration does not include a separate article on “Right to Peace”. This is why the UN is asking the people this year “What does The Right to Peace” mean to you? The UN urges people to share their views through ‘#peaceday and #standup4humanright’.
The UN Chief says this foundational document is a reminder that peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty and oppression and can thrive and prosper. “With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our guide, we must ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. I encourage you to speak up, for gender equality, for inclusive societies and for climate action. Do your part at school, at work, at home. Every step counts,” he says.
In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena was elected to office in January 2015, with his rainbow coalition’s main pledge being to restore sustainable peace by bringing about religious and racial unity in diversity. It is significant that President Sirisena won mainly because the majority of minority communities voted for him. After the August 2015 Parliamentary elections, the President’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party which played a major role in bringing him to office pledged their priority would be racial and religious unity in diversity. But some three years and nine months after the historic election of January 8, some progress has been made towards interracial and interreligious unity in diversity but much more needs to be done.
Party politicians will be party politicians for their personal gain or glory with bribery or corruption being rampant before January 2015 and even now. Therefore we urge the people to mark world peace day by making a pledge to “make me a channel of peace, where there is hatred, let me bring love, where there is offence, let me bring pardon, where there is discord, let me bring union, where there is error, let me bring truth, where there is despair, let me bring hope, where there is darkness, let me bring light, where there is sadness, let me bring joy.”