Good morning and thank you for joining us for today’s Peace Bell Ceremony.
It’s wonderful to start the day with such music, to remind us of the beauty that life has to offer. Yet, tragically, too many of our fellow global citizens are deprived of such peaceful pleasure due to conflict.
The International Day of Peace is an opportunity to renew our resolve to work for a future free of violence and strife. It’s a day when we honour those who have fallen in war, and when we grieve the suffering that conflict causes.
It is also when we call on combatants worldwide to lay down their arms and observe a day of ceasefire and non-violence.
This year, we turn our thoughts in particular to refugees and migrants, who need our support more than ever. There are now more than 65 million people who have been forced by conflict and persecution to flee their homes and homelands. Many more are on the move out of desperation for a better future. I have met with refugees and migrants all over the world. Time and again I have been inspired by their strength and their resilience.
For this International Day of Peace, we are focusing attention on the spirit of Together, a global initiative led by the United Nations to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants.
When more and more doors and minds are being closed to refugees, let us show solidarity. Let us highlight the shared benefits of migration to economies and to nations. When others receive the support they need and deserve, we are all more secure and better off.
Those of us fortunate enough to enjoy peace and prosperity should do everything we can to allow others to enjoy it as well. I thank our distinguished UN Messengers of Peace for being with us today and for their efforts. You understand that we all can make a difference in today’s world.
Before I ring this bell, and sound a call for peace and a day of non-violence, I would like to ask you to please join me in a moment of silence. Thank you.