In many regions of the world, the flags of peace are raised as a synonym for no more war! No more conflict! However, human experience has shown that peace has much broader and more diverse meanings; It also depends on the culture and the ways in which communities dialogue and resolve their conflicts.
Talking about peace implies that the different nations guarantee the recognition and enjoyment of Human Rights to all citizens; promote the non-violent resolution of conflicts; strengthen the rule of law and promote the empowerment of women and girls in society.
For UNESCO, for example, it is important to achieve the creation of a culture of peace that is based on absolute respect for Human Rights, democracy and tolerance. Likewise, it supposes an effort to transform conflicts, prevent any sign of violence and restore peace and confidence in all the populations that have lived in war, and that are emerging towards the construction of more peaceful places.
Why is the International Day of Peace celebrated?
In 1981 the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed September 21 as the International Day of Peace; then, in 2001, he decided to summon all nations so that non-violence and ceasefire days are held on this date.
The goal is that for 24 hours the world speaks of peace and experiences life without violence. From now on, it is up to governments and society itself to guarantee that people can live in harmony.
For the UN, the issue is so important that it even included peace within its Sustainable Development Goal No. 16, whose central purpose is to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies for all people.
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“End racism. Build peace”
For the year 2022, the United Nations Organization established that the central theme of the International Day of Peace would be: “End racism. Build peace.” The goal is to have a vision of a world free of racism and discrimination, where empathy is promoted and hatred is overcome.
On this, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, stated: “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures and daily life in all societies. It remains a key driver of persistent inequality. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and it is a scourge that is also unequivocally linked to gender inequality.”
Peace from the territories
Talking about peace is not only directly related to the armed conflicts that continue to occur in the world, but also transcends schools, workplaces, families and different spaces where there is interaction between people and nature.
“In the case of the indigenous peoples and, especially the Wayuu in La Guajira, we have been weaving from our cosmovision spaces of peace where the encounter between man, spirituality and mother nature is possible. In addition, we have our own justice system that has been recognized by UNESCO, where the word has great value for conflict resolution, and we have as the highest figure the ‘Pütchipü’, in Spanish ‘palabrero’ (…) this is a contribution that the indigenous people make to world peace,” said José Silva, president of the NGO Nación Wayuu.
In tune with the UN’s purpose of promoting non-discrimination by 2022, the Affirmative Caribbean Corporation has been working from the regions to build peace based on inclusion, social justice and respect for sexual diversity.
“We seek that diversity is not a reason to generate violence. The first thing we need in peacebuilding is to break the false imaginary of exclusion and begin to recognize people who, because they have diverse practices or ideologies, were the bearers of violence. “, said Wilson Castañeda, director of Caribe Afirmativo.
He also assured that “the challenge is to take the Peace Agreement, which is not only the responsibility of the State and the extinct FARC-EP, but also of us as a society, to identify modalities that we must require in order to live in peace, and that we definitely use a strategy of reconciliation in the territories.
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Colombia and its commitment to peace
Colombia has been in a constant search for peace. For decades, several attempts have been made to put an end to internal armed conflicts, with the signing of the Final Agreement in 2016 with the extinct FARC-EP guerrilla being the most important benchmark for the country.
With this act, Colombia assumed challenges to achieve the transition towards peace, which is to be noted, a fundamental right contemplated in article 22 of the Political Constitution of 1991, inherent to the truth.
Diana Britto, former director of Knowledge of the Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, expressed that, “part of what the Truth Commission worked on was that question of why, despite the fact that we have had so many demobilization processes, of disarmament , of reintegration, the war continues? And that is why the report focused on the factors that maintain conditions for the conflict to be recycled, since without a doubt the great contribution of the Final Report was to have identified these factors of repetition”.
In this way, to definitively guarantee the constitutional right to peace in Colombia, it is essential that all sectors understand the importance of establishing dialogues with all the armed actors, in addition to recognizing the progress that has been achieved so far. Although violence has not completely disappeared, it is necessary to remember, for example, that Carlos Ruiz Massieu, special representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, has stated that “of 13,000 accredited ex-combatants, the majority remain committed to the peace process.
Consequently, insisting that the country should be in a position to continue efforts aimed at definitively establishing peace in all corners of the national territory should be a priority for the entire Colombian State and its society as a whole, since it has been thanks to that search that currently, around 170 municipalities that previously experienced the ravages of the war, today have Development Programs with a Territorial Approach and have been able to exercise rights that were prevented years ago.
Some affirm that the number would be higher if there were no foreign or indifferent looks, and if that constitutional right was reflected in our daily work, regardless of where we live. Is it utopian to think that this date can go from commemoration to festivity?
This September 21, it is expected that, as indicated by the UN, the whole world will talk about peace, and society, as well as governments, will direct actions to achieve it.
“Let us work together to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our environments. Let’s support the movements that fight for equality and human rights and denounce hate speech, both on the Internet and offline. Let’s rebuild trust and social cohesion through education and restorative justice”, is the message delivered by the United Nations Organization to commemorate the International Day of Peace in 2022.