Liberia Observes International Day of Peace

Monrovia – Citizens in Liberia on Wednesday, joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace. The day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

The Government of Liberia in collaboration with working groups: Women, Youth, Peace, and Security in West Africa, the Sahel commemorated the International Day of Peace under the theme “End Racism. Build Peace”.

Delivering a special statement at the occasion, Acting Gender, Children, and Social Protection Minister Hassan Karneh told stakeholders that a society without peace is like living in the state of nature without knowledge – it erases all gains and puts everyone backward as without peace there is war and war only brings brutish barbarism.

“This year’s event is commemorated under the theme: “End Racism. Build Peace” calls on all of us to synchronize our efforts as we work towards a world free of racism and racial discrimination. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of. In our world today, racism, xenophobia and related discrimination and intolerance exist in all societies, everywhere – which we condemn in the strongest terms. Racism harms not just the lives of those who endure it, but also society as a whole.” Minister Karneh expressed.

The Acting Gender Minister cautioned: We all lose in a society characterized by discrimination, division, distrust, intolerance, and hate. The fight against racism is everyone’s fight. We all have a part to play in building a world beyond racism.

“I would like to just take you some years back. The civil wars fought in Liberia took away the lives of many Liberians and destroyed millions worth of properties, leaving people either internally displaced or fleeing into neighboring countries as refugees; and most of all, women and girls’ human rights were grossly violated.

If we can record, in early 2003, the women of Liberia began to make their voices heard and called for the war to come to an end by staging numerous peaceful demonstrations including the last protest at the Peace Conference in Accra, which led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in Accra, Ghana in August 2003. Today, the women of Liberia still strive to ensure that the peace is sustained.” The Minister reminiscences of Liberia’s civil unrest.

He lauded the women of Liberia for their vibrant advocacy which helped restored the peace of the nation. “The importance of peace for any society is obvious. Without peace, no nation and no individual can move forward. Only in a peaceful atmosphere can we continue to grow as a nation and secure our children’s future”, the Acting Gender boss added.

Historically, in 2009, Liberia became one of the first countries to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325, which demonstrated the government’s commitment to involving women in peace-building and conflict resolution processes.

“As we celebrate the International Day of Peace today, let us remember that the challenge is enormous, but so are our capabilities when we act together. As we look forward, we reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women as a foundation for a more peaceful and prosperous country. We are happy for His Excellency, the President Dr. George Manneh Weah, who has not remained silent but continuous paid keen attention to issues affecting women and children and has mandated us, his lieutenants, to carry out our work intentionally and purposefully,” Hassan Karneh stated.

He recognized the efforts of all partners, both national and international, for their continuous engagement with key institutions of government, to tackle issues affecting women and girls, and for also working with us in providing the necessary support for women’s empowerment and reducing the inequality gap in our society.

“I, therefore, like to state that Liberia remains committed to the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 and that we will continue to involve women in key conflict resolution issues in the country, as well as ensure the full empowerment and protection of women. Peace starts with us – peace is all we have – peace is all we need! Let us actively seek to keep the peace for us all in mama Liberia, the region, and the world.” Minister Karneh concluded.

In a special message from the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion marking the International Day of Peace, the UN Secretary-General said peace is a noble and necessary pursuit and the only practical pathway to a better, fairer world for all people.

“End Racism, Build Peace” reminds us of the many ways racism poisons people’s hearts and minds and erodes the peace we all seek. Racism robs people of their rights and dignity. It inflames inequalities and mistrust. And it pushes people apart, at a time when we should be coming together, as one human family, to repair our fractured world.” Secretary Guterres asserted.

The UN Secretary-General cautioned: Instead of fighting each other, we should be working to defeat our true enemies: racism, poverty, inequality, conflict, the climate crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

We should tear down structures that sustain racism, and lift human rights movements everywhere. And we should drown out the vicious voices of hate speech with a united and sustained cry for truth, understanding, and mutual respect.

Also speaking at the International Day of Peace observance was Swedish Ambassador to Liberia H.E. Urban Sjöström, a Representative from the European Union, One UN Resident Coordinator Neils Scott, and Representatives from the ECOWAS region, among others. The top diplomats encouraged everyone to harness the peace of the Land.

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