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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 21 September 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks at Peace Bell Ceremony on the International Day of Peace

I am very moved to see you all here together today.

Thank you for your commitment to the United Nations.

Thank you for being here to join me in marking the International Day of Peace.

This is a day on which the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world.

We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence to honour the victims of conflict – those who have lost their lives, those who survived, but must now cope with trauma and pain, and those who, at this very moment, are under fire or being subjected to brutal abuses of their human rights.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”.

Armed conflicts attack the pillars of sustainable development.

Natural resources should be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars.

Children should be in school, not recruited as soldiers.

National budgets should focus on people’s needs, not deadly weapons.

The United Nations works for sustainable peace across the world.  We strive to prevent conflicts before they erupt – to resolve disputes through peaceful means – and to help people build the foundations of lasting peace.

Today, we must ring the peace bell with extra force and conviction.

We need its beautiful sound to be heard above the voices of discord and extremism that have sparked violence in recent days.

On this day devoted to non-violence, let us proclaim again that hatred only fuels hatred, and that violence only breeds violence.

The cycle of attack and revenge, of provocation and recrimination, gets us nowhere.
It destroys, when our duty is to build.

In these tense global times, we need a message of tolerance, dialogue, cooperation and harmony to resonate across the world.

I am grateful to all of you here for using your great talents and your global stature to spread that message far and wide.

In doing so, you help the human family find a path of sustainable peace.

Now, I would like to call for a moment of silence – our tribute to the fallen, and our symbol of commitment to the meaning of this day.

Thank you very much.


Statements on 21 September 2012