September 21st, 2021
By Hamid Riaz & Hassan Raza
Today on September 21st the world is celebrating the international day for peace. First announced during a general assembly (G.A) meeting in 1981 the day evolved to as a result of a G.A vote in 2001 and was designated as an international day of ceasefire to all conflicts across the globe to foster the spirit of peace amongst different warring groups. As a matter of tradition, a Peace Bell donated by the United Nations Association of Japan tolls every September 21st to mark the beginning of this day for international peace.
This year the theme of the international day for peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world,” in light of the global pandemic. As most parts of the world rebound from the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic the United Nations has asserted upon the need for more collective healing, as a central message for this day. In an official press release, the U.N has called upon the world community to “think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.”
But under the same breath, the United Nations has also admitted that our global recovery from Covid-19 has been anything but collective. With over 687 million doses of the Covid-19 dozes being rolled out worldwide there have been some 100 countries that have not received even a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
In February 2021 the United Nation’s security council collectively passed a resolution calling for a “sustained humanitarian pause” to all local and global conflicts during the period of the pandemic as people caught in conflict are especially vulnerable in terms of lack of access to healthcare. On this international day for peace, the U.N has reiterated the need to abide by this resolution stating that “confronting this common enemy of humankind, we must be reminded that we are not each other’s enemy. To be able to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must make peace with one another.”
Celebrations in Pakistan
Voice for Justice International commemorated the International Day of Peace at Tehsil Council Hall Sahiwal with 200 representatives from Punjab. Diocesan Director of National Commission for Justice and Peace Fr Khalid Rashid was the chief guest at the event. He urged all to take part in communal activities for commemorations as such are very important reminders of our role and commitments towards the global community.” He believes in engaging youth to play their role in peacebuilding in the country.
Participants of the seminar asserted that all religions preach that there should be no violence against women, children, religious minorities, elderly persons, and non-combatants, yet women and children were murdered in Pakistan.
The commemoration came to a close with the distribution of awards to peace activists who had made significant contributions towards peace in their communities. The recipients included Fr. Khalid Rashid, Mufti Zahoor Ahmad, Mufti Sohail Shaukat, Mufti Rana Zaman, Prof Jalil Butt, Zahira Saleem, Mukhtar Joya DSP, and Murad.