With John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine” as the backdrop, the
United Nations marked the International Day of Peace underscoring
that all people have the right to peace.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly Pesident Sam Kutesa and other participants at the Peace Bell Ceremony on the occasion of the International Day of Peace 2014. UN Photo/Mark Garten/Cia Pak
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“We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes
of conflict,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ahead of the
official observance of the Day, 21 September, which this year falls
As on each year since the Day was created in 1981, the Secretary-
General asked combatants to lay down their arms “so all can
breathe the air of peace.” He also called on people around the world
to observe a minute of silence at noon and reflect on what peace
means for the human family. "Our Organization is founded on the
pledge to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, We
have made much progress. But much remains to be done."
Among the highlights of this year’s events, Yoko Ono contributed
John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” which was originally released by the
former Beatle in 1971.
“This song is really important for the world,” Ms. Ono said in a UN
interview. “In a sense that he was really stating what should be done
to bring world peace.”
While Mr. Lennon’s lyrics “imagine all the people living life in peace”
have not come true, Ms. Ono said she believes the world is moving
in the right direction.
“We have to have patience and hope,” she said. “When we did the
bed-in in 1969 things were so bad, no one wanted to know about
world peace. Now I think that 99 per cent of the people in the world
are really hoping. So that’s a real difference” . . .
The theme of this year’s International Day of Peace is “Right of
Peoples to Peace” in honour of the 30th anniversary of the General
Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace.
Throughout this coming year, the UN will also commemorate its
70th anniversary and reaffirm a commitment to the Organization’s
purposes and principles, and its central message that humanity’s
sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and
freedoms depend on peace and security . . .
The Peace Bell is a gift from Japan that hangs from a wooden beam
in the rose garden in front of UN Headquarters. It has tolled every
year since 1981, when the UN General Assembly established the
Day to coincide with the opening of its annual session in
Mr. Ban was joined in at the ringing ceremony by UN Messengers of
Peace Jane Goodall, Midori and Yo-Yo Ma – who will both perform
on the Day – and UN “Girl Up” Champion Monique Coleman.
The perimeter of the garden was dotted by some 500 high school
and university students, many holding flags of the Organization and
all 193 UN Member States . . .
(Click here for a French version of this article)