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Marking International Day, UN affirms people's right to 'imagine' world at peace
an article by UN News Centre (abridged)

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

click on photo to enlarge

“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 on Sunday.

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 September.

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)


Question(s) related to this article:

How are you celebrating Peace Day?,

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Latest reader comment:

It is difficult to find extensive listings of the many events celebrating the International Day of Peace around the world.  An exception is the United Religions Initiative which lists events for the IDP 2014 by their affiliates in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, United States and the Philippines.

This report was posted on September 30, 2014.