By Ann Baek
This week the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) gathered 1 500 youth and civil society at the Civic Centre in Cape Town, to participate in a global peace movement to mark the 6th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace.
With the theme of “Silencing the Guns”, the commemoration also celebrated Africa Month as a means to promote a culture of peace, unity, and harmony in Africa.
Attendees included Dr Ako from the African Union Committee, Overberg District Deputy mayor, Moulana Shuab Appleby from the Muslim Judicial Council as well as councilors’ from the City of Cape Town.
The peace walk was held at about 126 cities in 77 countries including Australia, China, Germany, India, Russia, the Philippines, and the United States of America.
The essence of the walk is to show the collective voice of the global citizens that are voluntarily carrying the message of peace into their various communities.
The Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), the legal instrument which was crafted from the values of the Declaration of World Peace, addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as the respect on international law, peaceful dispute settlement and spreading a culture of peace.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international peace NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC announced the significance of the DPCW by saying: “The DPCW permeates the will of global citizens asks for the global community to become one under peace with respect of mutual coexistence.
“This Declaration advocates for everyone to cooperate towards building peace so that there may be no more production of weapons as well as invasions of other countries. As the national leaders support the 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW and religions harmonize for peace, the global community can take the road to peace.”
Over 700 school children represented their communities in Cape Town, highlighting the need for peace to remedy the high crime rates and violence.
In an interview, Juliana Kanda, a representative of Holy Cross Primary School said that everything begins with peace. ”Everywhere in Cape Town we just hear gunshots. People are dying because of rage and violence everywhere so I believe if we want to be united if we want to be safe – we need peace.”
During his speech, Dr. Rhuks Temitope Ako of the Peace and Security Department at the African Union (AU) and co-convener of the Youth For Peace Program shared that: “This week, as it is Africa Month, is a time to remind [the member states of the AU] of promises they made to the citizens of this continent – that peace and development is what we deserve and it is not too much to ask for.”
In Asia, where the declaration was proclaimed 6 years ago, more than 150,000 citizens gathered and took part in the “Peace Letter Campaign” to call for the support for the DPCW in order to develop it into a legally binding document. Up to date, approximately 1.3 million letters were written in 192 countries with expectations for responses from the heads of each state.
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