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Statement by Edward Kallon, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, on commemorating International Day of Peace, 21 Sept. 2021, Abuja.

On the 21st of September each year, the world observes the International Day of Peace.

Established in 1981 by the unanimous United Nations resolution 36/37, the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”. It is a day devoted to achieving peace through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

We join the global community in marking the International Day of Peace by reasserting our normative role in promoting the values of tolerance, mutual respect, reconciliation and human dignity.

The UN Charter, written amid the ashes of World War II, begins with the famous words: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…” Today, we reaffirm our commitment to this core tenet of the Charter and to continue on our global mission towards peace.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says: “As a human family, we face a stark choice – peace or perpetual peril. We must choose peace.”

In Nigeria, the rights of the people to peace have been hampered by insecurity issues around the country, particularly the insurgency in the North-East, the spate of violent kidnappings at our children’s schools, and the farmer-herder crisis along the Middle Belt. In the spirit of the International Day of Peace, I call on the perpetrators to lay down their weapons and give peace a chance. The only solution to these crises is peace.

Furthermore, we must make peace with our fellow mankind as we face a common enemy: COVID-19. To recover from this devastating pandemic, we must reconcile with one another first. We need solidarity in order to mitigate the pandemic’s worst consequences, deliver the vaccines, and support this great nation Nigeria on its road to recovery.

A halt in local conflicts will allow us to address this global emergency. Those caught in areas of conflict like the North-East are especially vulnerable in terms of access to healthcare. We need to ensure that they have access to necessary treatments and vaccines.

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. The pandemic has hit the underprivileged and marginalized groups the hardest. We must build back better a world that is more equal, more just, more inclusive, more equitable, and more sustainable.

As we support the Government of Nigeria to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, we remember that there is no peace without development and no development without peace. I exhort each and every Nigerian to be an agent, ambassador and advocate of peace as we collectively work towards putting this pandemic behind us and moving into a new era of peace, prosperity and progress.

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