30 September 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Peace Starts with People, Is Sustained around Community Tables, Says


Secretary-General, in Message for International Day of Non-Violence


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Non-Violence, to be delivered by his Chef de Cabinet, Vijay Nambiar, tomorrow, 1 October, ahead of the observance on 2 October:

The International Day of Non-Violence marks the birth date of one of the doctrine’s leading voices, Mahatma Gandhi.  “Non-violence”, Gandhi said, “is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.”

We at the United Nations strive to harness the power of non-violence to overcome prejudice, end conflict, and cultivate mutual respect and understanding among peoples and countries.  Indeed, the creed of non-violence echoes through the United Nations Charter:  “To practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”; “to ensure … that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest”.

We work every day to bring these lofty principles to life.  We do this by promoting human rights, seeking to resolve conflicts through peaceful means, campaigning to eliminate violence against women, working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and building bridges across cultures, and countering hatred and extremism everywhere.

This work cannot be left to Governments or international organizations alone.  Peace may be achieved around the negotiating table, but it is sustained around community tables.  Peace starts with people — it flows from the hearts of committed women and men.  Communities, families and individuals all have a critical role to play in defeating violence and creating a culture of peace.

On this International Day of Non-Violence, let us work together to use the great force of non-violence to build peaceful and just societies for ourselves and for our children.

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For information media • not an official record