Achieving peace involves more than “laying down weapons”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, calling for intensified efforts to address the root causes of conflict.
In a message marking the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, observed annually on 21 September, Mr. Guterres reiterated the importance of human rights for lasting peace.
“There is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people,” he said.
“Let us stand up for human rights for all, in the name of peace for all.”
The theme of the commemorations this year is ‘The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.’
He said that the International Day “embodies our shared aspiration to end conflict in all its forms and to safeguard the human rights of all people,” adding that the UN has called for a 24-hour global ceasefire, “with the hope that one day in our lifetime, we will witness an end to violence.”
There is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people – Secretary-General António Guterres
In his message, the UN chief also called on everyone to work to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, including through the promotion of inclusive societies, access to justice and building accountable institutions.
Adopted by all 193 UN Member States in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the importance of achieving economic and social development, together with equality for all, to build a more peaceful world.
Part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, which commits countries to a deadline of 2030, the 17 Goals cover a broad range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice.
One of the Goals (SDG16) focuses primarily on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies through achievable but sustainable development. It also includes providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.