Blog The Right To Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70

The Right To Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70

The International Day of Peace will be observed on September 21st with a theme of 'The Right To Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70', celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Read more about some of the humanitarians who speak about their incredible work to help create a safer world for others).

Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, and unanimously voted on in 2001, the day invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the day, and to otherwise pay homage to the day through education and public awareness.

But in today's turbulent climate, where negative headlines seem to litter our newspapers and the internet every day, is achieving peace actually possible anytime soon? BBC News World Affairs editor, John Simpson, who has been bringing the UK news from more than 120 countries and has reported on many of the globe's most historical moments, comments:

'The world may seem to be in a dreadful state today. But the important thing to remember is that there are many fewer wars now than there were fifty years ago, world poverty has been dramatically cut, and even terrorism claims far few victims than it did in the 1970s. So we shouldn't despair just yet.’

BBC News World Affairs editor, John Simpson

Jeremy Gilley, the Founder of Peace One Day, whose work led to September 21st being recognised by the UN as a global annual day of ceasefire and non-violence, comments: Approximately 97% of violence that will happen today happens in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. Approximately only 3% or 4% of violence happens in areas of conflict. So September 21st represents the opportunity for everyone to get involved in the peace process.

"Bringing our families together, doing things in our schools, in the workforce, in the community and that’s what we’re seeing happen and that’s why the day works. Who would you make peace with on 21st September? Is there someone you have fallen out with that you haven’t seen for a while, a family member? It’s our opportunity as individuals to change the quality of our lives by mending the personal relationships we have. Peace day is the perfect opportunity to do that - and the aim is to institutionalise the day."

"Who would you make peace with on 21st September?"

Indeed, the General Assembly has declared peace as something that we should all be striving for, even in our own lives. And so, The Universal Declaration – the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages - is as relevant today as it was on the day that it was adopted.

Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres adds “It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” 

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