The International Day of Peace has arrived under the feeling of consternation and outrage as the world, hyper-emotionally dismayed, continues to watch as human dignity, civilization, and peace are being trampled underfoot by a heartbreaking Syrian civil war whose gruesome scenes may never wash away from our vivid memory.
In 1981, the UN General Assembly instituted that September 21st be an International Day of Peace among people and nations in the world with resolution 36/67.
Later, in 2001, the General Assembly through another resolution 55/282 unanimously adopted September 21st as an annual day of nonviolence and cease-fire.
Looking back, it should be remembered that the ideals and aspirations of the 55/282 resolutions was to simply reaffirm the spirit of the UN charter whose intent was, and still is, “to save succeeding generations from scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”
The charter also reaffirmed the UN members’ faith in the fundamental human rights, dignity, respect of human person, and the promotion of peace and security as it will be enshrined in the Universal declarations of human rights and adopted later on December 10th, 1948.
As members of the world continued to assemble from 1948 all the way to this day for the main purpose of promoting peace and security in the world, asserting human dignity, freedom and respect, and avoiding another war the magnitude of WWI or WWII, colonization still continued, and in turn, racism and racial discrimination among people and nations intensified.
Dictatorial regimes continued to suppress people’s freedoms, brutalizing some and killing others with the support of the very nations that had just sworn to promote human dignity and respect. Terrorism continued to take heartbreaking tolls on innocent human lives while democracy had been turned into a cruel temptress.
Despite these resolutions, endless civil wars within nations continued to force defenseless men, women, and children to flee their homes and countries in search for security and peace elsewhere in the world.
Since the inception of the UN charter, the world has witnessed several inhumane wars, not to mention the recent ones ongoing in Syria and Afghanistan, which has negated all notions of peace and security in the world.
This does not undermine a number of UN diplomatic efforts that have in fact succeeded in ending wars that unfortunately had already taken a toll on thousands, if not millions, of lives.
According to the annual Global Trend, by the end of 2012, there were 42.5 million people forcibly displaced as a result of civil wars, international wars, and other armed conflicts. Recent reports of UN high Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), indicate that by the end of last year there were 45.2 million people forced to flee their countries or homes in search for peace and security.
According to Professor Mark Harrison from the University of Warwick, war frequency in the world has risen from 6% between 1870 and 1913 to 17% during the period of WWI and WWII. After WWII, “Wars frequency” he said, has risen up to 36 % until the 1990s. One of the most fundamental questions we all need to ask is, ‘Why has the UN so chronically failed to promote peace and human lives as is prescribed in its charter.’
As nations that welcome refugees, face budget constraints and are obligated to cut spending, other questions we must ask are:
- What will be the next destination for the millions of refugees and immigrants forced to flee their countries every day?
- What can be done to curb the outflow of so many people from their countries into foreign countries as a result of persecution, injustice, wars, and killings?
- Is the current model of allowing huge mass exoduses of people from their countries into other countries sustainable following numerous social, economic, and political constraints host countries are now facing?
What do you think? Karibu wants to hear our readers answers, thoughts and concerns to these questions. Send in your response to firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission, we will publish your answers/responses in the next issue of Karibu News.