Today, 21st September marks the commemoration of International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day. The day was set aside by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 1981, to promote peace. The Peace Day provides a globally shared date for humanity to commit to peace above all differences, and to contribute towards building a culture of peace.
The day draws further impetus from the preamble of the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which declares; “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed”.
This years’ Peace Day celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, under the theme “The Right to Peace: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.
As an organisation made up of UN Member States, SADC joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace. The SADC Treaty designated “solidarity, peace and security; respect for human rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law and peaceful settlement of disputes” among SADC’s founding principles. SADC recognizes the interconnectedness between peace, security and development, and that there can be no peace without development in the same way that there can be no development without peace.
To ensure the consolidation of peace and the rule of law, in June 1996, SADC launched the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Organ) as a formal institution of SADC with the mandate to support the achievement and maintenance of security and the rule of law in the SADC region.
SADC has strived to prevent the outbreak of violent conflicts through mediation, dialogue and peaceful means. As we commemorate the 2018 International Day of Peace, SADC calls upon its citizens, and the international community at large, to embrace the tenets of peace, and observe human rights principles and freedoms, in line with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.