Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the celebration of the International Day of Peace.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.
In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted another resolution establishing September 21 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire, and invited all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
The theme for this year is “Peace and Democracy: Make your voice heard!” and today’s observance also coincides with that of the International Day of Democracy.
In light of this, and on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, I take this opportunity to urge all Jamaicans to lets us recognise the value of peace and democracy, within and without our borders, as we go into our 50th anniversary of Independence.
Let us observe a moment of prayer and/or reflection, for the peace we have experienced and the conflicts we have avoided.
In a world of economic, social and political turmoil, despite the crime and violence we have experienced, Jamaica is still, fortunately, a place to which our people across the Diaspora can return and embrace family and friends in a climate of relative peace and tranquility. But peace doesn’t just happen – it must be nurtured, maintained and defended. We must work for peace in many ways: through mediation to resolve our differences; by promoting tolerance; by seeking to eliminate poverty; and by creating an environment that can sustain peace for us and our children.
To help ensure and promote sustainable peace in all areas in Jamaica, the “corners”, in our homes and in the schools especially, we must continue to focus on development, improving living standards and protecting our young ones.
Let us take the opportunity afforded us by our talented athletes and artistes, and find common ground, especially among our youth, to make peace a global reality.