Jun. 13

Statement from the Special Envoy on the 100 Day Countdown to the International Day of Peace 2017

by Ray Chambers

Today marks 100 days before the International Day of Peace, a day observed annually on September 21 across national borders and among people everywhere, calling for a 24-hour global ceasefire. This call for peace could not come at a more critical time.  Conflicts around the world continue to ravage communities. There are currently 21.3 million people, half of which are youth under the age of 18, who have been forced to flee their country due to conflict and persecution—a humanitarian crisis the scale of which the world has not seen in over a generation.

That is why this year’s theme, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”, will also shine a light on those most affected by areas of conflict—refugees and migrants—and urge everyone to be part of the solution for sustainable peace.

I understand that the roadblocks to achieving peace can feel insurmountable, especially in areas of conflict and among communities with long, complicated histories. Many will ask, “Where do I even begin?” The answer is: we begin within ourselves.

Over the next 100 days, we encourage you to open your hearts to those currently bearing the weight of conflict. Behind every morning headline and every statistic, we must remember there are real people, enduring real struggles. We owe it to those displaced—children and their parents, teachers and doctors—to create a welcoming environment for all communities. Let today mark the beginning of your commitment to peace with acts of empathy and kindness.

The TOGETHER Campaign, a global initiative championed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, provides a platform to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants. This campaign strengthens the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants, through the support of global citizens. It builds upon the peace day movement ignited in previous years through campaigns such as Forgive for Peace. Politicians, celebrities and influential young people across the world have already lent their voice to amplify messages of empathy and acceptance, reaching millions on every continent and inspiring us all to play our part in promoting peace.

I am invigorated by the Secretary-General’s leadership in prioritizing peace and I am wholeheartedly committed to supporting him in these efforts to avoid or end conflict, and ensure stability for everyone, everywhere.

In times of great peril, the global community has always come together and proved more formidable than any terror that seeks to divide us. Now is no exception. With every act of compassion and tenderness, we move closer to fulfilling our promise of peace. I am confident that through our collective resolve, peace will prevail.

It starts today. And it starts with you.

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