21 September 2007 – From the ritual ringing of a bell at its stately Headquarters in New York to the furthest flung trenches of warfare across the world, where a record number of more than 100,000 peacekeepers are struggling to restore stability, the United Nations system today marked the annual International Day of Peace with fervent appeals for an end to violence.
“Peace is the highest calling of the United Nations – and for me personally,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared on the lawn in front of the towering UN Headquarters.
“Peace defines our mission. It drives our discourse. And it draws together all of our world wide work, from peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy to promoting human rights and development,” he added.
The International Day of Peace was first established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. The General Assembly called for people around the world to use the Day as an opportunity to promote the resolution of conflict and to observe a cessation of hostilities during it. UN staff throughout the world are observing a minute of silence in the name of peace.
In his speech, Mr. Ban referred directly to the global crises. “In countless communities across the world, peace remains an elusive goal,” he said. “From the displaced person camps of Chad and Darfur [Sudan] to the byways of Baghdad, the quest for peace is strewn with setbacks and suffering