Top UN official in Afghanistan calls for national participation in peace campaign

1 September 2009

The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan has urged the entire nation to join an ambitious three-week-long peace campaign, which kicked off today when Afghan celebrities, UN staff and civil society representatives held hands at simultaneous events in cities throughout the country.

The ‘What Are You Doing for Peace in Afghanistan?’ campaign runs until International Peace Day on 21 September and features numerous initiatives by individual citizens and groups, as well as a polio immunization drive that aims to reach millions of children in some of the most insecure areas in the country.

“I call on all to take part in this campaign for peace,” said Kai Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“There is a huge demand for peace,” he added at the ceremony, which is being launched at a time of heightened conflict in the strife-torn country. The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is responding to hundreds of objections received following last month’s historic presidential and provincial council elections.

“UNAMA is today calling on all those working for peace in Afghanistan to come together in a massive effort for peace that everyone across Afghanistan and outside this country sees,” Mr. Eide stressed.

Since their launch in 2007, Afghanistan’s peace campaigns have become entirely apolitical annual events, which are open to any individual or organization, and serve to promote openings for reconciliation and humanitarian access, according to a news release issued by UNAMA.

Previous campaigns in 2007 and 2008 brought together thousands of Afghan groups, businesses, individuals, and international celebrities in efforts resulting in 3.4 million children vaccinated against polio.

UN Peace Ambassador and Golden Globe Award winner Seddiq Barmak said that “years of war and bloodshed are roaring – the love through the smoke and flames of this war has changed to hatred. Let's come together to cultivate the seeds of love and affection. Forgiveness and reaching out hands to each other will create peace.”

 

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