May 11, 2009, 6:09 AM
Today September 21st is being observed as International Day of Peace (IDP) and, to mark the day, the West Africa Network for
Bellow is the full text of the release:
“On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace (IDP), 21st September 2011, under the theme of ‘Peace and Democracy: Make Your Voice Heard” ,the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP-Gambia) joins the Gambian Community of Civil Society Organizations, to appeal for peace and human security in our region and in the world. The International Day of Peace offers a unique platform to focus on the plight of our youth. It also helps to make their voices heard in seeking peace peacefully, to nurture and sustain democratic values for peaceful coexistence in our communities and nation. Within the context of the 2011-2013 Gambia elections cycle, enfranchising the youth augurs well for a participatory and inclusive democratic process that is representative of the wishes and aspirations of our future leaders of the
This year one focal point for the observance of IDP across the entire planet will be the minute of silence at 12:00 noon, in all time zones worldwide, on Sept. 21 - as requested by Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.
In The Gambia, youths nationwide are especially encouraged to participate in celebrating Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your Kafo, vous or social club, co- workers, organization or community engaged in an event that promotes peace. The impact if millions of people worldwide coming together for one day of peace is immense.
Aware of the challenges of unemployment, illegal migration, HIV/AIDS and other perils facing the youth, WANEP recognizes attempts at harnessing and directing youths’ energies towards wealth creation through education, skills acquisition, technology improvement and the provision of social development funds. Therefore, WANEP-Gambia lauds government’s efforts at Service delivery-roads, bridges, water and sanitation, educational projects, electricity, health facilities, schools, markets and other infrastructure in The Gambia all of which continue to offer huge windows of opportunities for the youthful population to engage in economic activities, and thus decrease incentives for involvement in crime and violent conflict.
Youth, peace and development are closely interlinked: Peace fosters development, which is critical in providing opportunities for young people, particularly those in countries emerging from conflict. Healthy, educated youth are in turn crucial to sustainable development that meets today’s basic needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this regard, peace, stability and security are essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals aimed at slashing poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child death and universal child education by 2015. Education for peace requires not just imparting knowledge, but also helping in the development of social skills and attitudes that lead to creating a culture of non-violence and peaceful co-existence.
Making the voices of youths heard strengthens peace and democracy. In a message to mark the Day, Ban Ki Moon, has said that democracy does not just happen; it has to be nurtured and defended. “The world needs you to speak out- for social justice and freedom of the press, for a clean environment and women’s empowerment, for the rule of law and the right to a say in one’s future,” he said.
International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire. Therefore, WANEP-Gambia urges all to take this opportunity to make peace in our own relationships as well as in the larger conflicts of our time most especially in our sub region. Building the right relationships and maintaining them is the foundation of all development.
“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, And Something you give away.
“We will continue to build relationships for peace and ultimately engender democracy to make the voices of the youth heard.”