September 21 is celebrated as International Peace Day. In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared September 21 as International Day of Peace.
Every year on 21 September, the UN invites people around the world to celebrate peace by observing 24 hours of ceasefire and non-violence. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in his message, said:
“As we strive to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagine a better future for people and planet, this year’s theme is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”
“Peace is the foundation of that recovery. The global vaccination effort cannot advance amidst armed conflict.
“Nor can we build a sustainable, resilient, peaceful world while we are at war with nature. Recovery efforts offer an opportunity to transform our relationship with our planet and our environment.
“The world cannot go back to what it was. As we count down to the International Day of Peace, I call on people everywhere to be part of a transformation for peace, by standing up against hatred and discrimination, by caring for the planet, and by showing the global solidarity that is so vital at this time.”
On this occasion, the American Human Rights Council (AHRC) said:
“We observe and celebrate Peace Day not because our world enjoys peace. It is despite the raging conflicts and injustices that we celebrate peace as a goal for all humanity. What is the value of all human rights when there is no peace?”
Peace is not simply the absence of war. Elaborating on the theme of peace, on Peace Day 2020, UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “In these days of physical distancing, we may not be able to stand next to one another. But we must still stand together for peace. And, together, I know we can – and will – build a more just, sustainable and equitable world.” True peace cannot be attained without justice .
In his commencement speech at American University in June 10, 1963, President John F Kennedy said about peace: “What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.” AHRC wishes all leaders work to make Mr. Kennedy’s vision a reality.
On this day, as we all renew our commitment to peace, we should renew our commitment to justice as the true foundation of peace.
Recalling Dr. Martin Luther King who had said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director, said, “I believe that human beings have agency and it is within our power to attain peace.”