UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has started a 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, with a strong appeal to citizens, governments and leaders worldwide to “put peace first.” Guterres on Wednesday said the International Day, marked annually on September 21, “embodies our shared aspiration to end the needless suffering caused by armed conflict”, reports Xinhua news agency. The Secretary-General said: “It is a day on which the United Nations calls for a 24-hour global ceasefire, with the hope that one day of peace can lead to another, and another, and ultimately to a stilling of the guns.”
The UN chief explained that there is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. “True peace requires building bridges, combating discrimination and standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people.” The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” with a particular focus on the plight of refugees and migrants throughout the world.
Guterres urged everyone – over the next 100 days – to remember that millions of vulnerable members of our society, many of whom have lost everything, need our understanding and assistance. The International Day of Peace, unofficially known as World Peace Day, was first celebrated in 1982.