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The International Day of Peace: Human Rights and Peacekeeping

TXT 4 PEACE - To encourage even greater awareness of this important Day, the United Nations is encouraging people around the world to send text messages for peace on or before 21 September. UN offices in several countries are organizing campaigns. Messages collected by the UN will be presented to world leaders gathering in New York for the 63rd General Assembly from 23 September.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Yoo Soon-taek, release two white doves, as the symbol of peace, during a visit to the 80-year-old Ratna Maya Thapa from the Central Region of Nepal shows her voter registration card after walking for one and a half hours to cast her ballot in the Nepalese Constituent Assembly elections.
Pallets of census material, vital for the success of Sudan's pending democratic elections, are assembled at the Juba airport in Southern Sudan prior to being airlifted by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to Malakal. Peacekeeper of United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) speaks with a villager during a routine patrol.

The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people”.

Twenty years later, the General Assembly set 21 September as the date to observe the occasion annually as a “day of global ceasefire and non-violence… through education and public awareness and to cooperate in the establishment of a global ceasefire”.

This year, as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, the Day offers an opportunity to spotlight the crucial relationship between peace and human rights, which are increasingly recognized as inseparable. In the aftermath of World War II, world leaders acknowledged that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts” and have prevented the “advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy…freedom from fear and want”.

Today, we are still struggling to achieve this vision. Too many conflicts, from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to conflicts in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Darfur, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, cause unnecessary loss of life and have a devastating impact on the structures that maintain societies, such as education, health and justice systems and the maintenance of law and order.   Read More..

PEACE BELL CEREMONY - This year to mark the International Day of Peace, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will ring the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, 19 September, in the company of the UN Messengers of Peace. UN offices and peacekeeping missions around the world will also be holding events to observe the occasion. A minute of silence will be observed at 12 noon local time on 21 September, around the world.