International Day of Peace 2012

  • Honourable Richard Onyonka, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya;
  • Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director for the United Religions Initiative-Africa,
  • Mr. Aeneas Chuma, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator,
  • Mr. James Ohayo, President of the UN Nairobi Staff Union,
  • Representatives of Civil Society Organizations,
  • Dear UN Colleagues,
  • Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the United Nations Headquarters in Africa on this important International Day of Peace, devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The International Day of Peace was first established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.    This year the venue for this observance, the Memorial Garden, is significant as it was established in memory of the victims of the 1998 Bomb blasts in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A special Peace Pole was erected in this garden with the support of the World Peace Prayer and United Religions Initiative.                                  

It is now my privilege to deliver a message from United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon for this Day, which goes as follows:

On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world.

We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence, at noon local time, to honour the victims – those who have lost their lives, and those who survived but must now cope with trauma and pain.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”.

Armed conflicts attack the very pillars of sustainable development.

Natural resources must be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars.

Children should be in school, not recruited into armies.                                                                             

National budgets should focus on building human capacity, not deadly weapons.

On the International Day of Peace, I call on combatants around the world to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts.

Let us all work together for a safe, just and prosperous future for all.   END OF QUOTE.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

On this Day let us all renew and reaffirm our commitment to “LET PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH” as inscribed on the Peace Pole in this garden. A culture of peace, based on the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, respect for diversity, dialogue and understanding, should be embraced.

For peace to prevail, it has to start with all of us as individuals because there cannot be true peace unless the individual mind is at peace. Let us all play our part to ensure that our everyday actions contribute to a peaceful society in a world of intricate interdependencies, where a conflict anywhere can spread conflict everywhere.

I thank you for your kind attention.