The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.” Twenty years later, the General Assembly decided that 21 September would be observed annually as a “day of global ceasefire and non-violence" and invited all Member States, organizations and individuals to commemorate the day, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the establishment of a global ceasefire.
Our efforts for peace are vital, but the task is not easy. For many people in the world, peace remains out of reach.
This year, which marks the 20th anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, FIACAT wishes to emphasise that children are still the first victims of armed conflict today – child soldiers in the front line of more than 30 conflicts around the world, as well as millions of children suffering from wartime atrocities, including mutilation and sexual abuse, and children who have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries or are displaced within their own country.
Even after the guns fall quiet, children suffer from the effects of war. Many are displaced, and those who return home may find themselves the new head of the household. Some suffer permanent disabilities caused by land mines or are traumatised by abduction, detention, sexual abuse or the brutal murder of family members.
FIACAT attaches great importance to bringing to justice all those who have committed war crimes and large-scale human rights and humanitarian law violations, in particular when those crimes have targeted children. Impunity must not be tolerated.
In every nation, and between every nation, we must work to promote unity based on our common humanity.
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