Press Releases

    OBV/506
    21 September 2005

    Secretary-General Calls for Ceasefire, Minute of Silence on International Day of Peace

    NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling for the worldwide observance of a 24-hour ceasefire and day of non-violence to mark International Day of Peace on 21 September 2005.

    The International Day of Peace "is meant to be a day of global ceasefire.  I call on all countries and all people to stop all hostilities for the entire day.  I also urge all people around the world to observe a minute of silence at 12 noon", the Secretary-General says in a videotaped message.  (See Press Release SG/SM/10103 of 17 September.)

    The International Day of Peace is the first major UN event to follow the special summit of world leaders held at United Nations headquarters from 14-16 September.  During the historic meeting attended by a record number (151) heads of State, leaders came to important agreements:  the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and a standing police capacity for UN peacekeeping operations, enhanced UN peacemaking capacities, a significant increase in development efforts (an additional $50 billion a year by 2010 for fighting poverty, and a commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015), strengthening the UN's human rights capacity, a coordinated strategy to prevent terrorism, and acceptance by States of the collective international responsibility to protect populations from war crimes.

    "Peace is the paramount United Nations mission", Secretary-General Annan said in his message prepared for the International Day of Peace.  "It is the essence of our identity.  The cause that animates everything we do…The International Day of Peace is a day on which we reaffirm our commitment to this quest.  It is an opportunity to consider how to strengthen our system of collective security."

    The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session every September.  In 2001, the General Assembly approved a second resolution setting the observance on 21 September of each year.

    This year, the Day will be observed at UN Headquarters with the traditional ceremony in which the Secretary-General rings the Peace Bell.  At his side will be UN Messengers of Peace Anna Cataldi, Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall and Elie Wiesel.

    Numerous events and observances are planned around the world by UN offices and peacekeeping operations, governments and non-governmental organizations, civil society and religious groups to promote peace and non-violence.

    Also at UN Headquarters on 21 September, the Messengers of Peace will give a press briefing with Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information at 11:15 New York time, UN Room 226.

    The annual student commemoration of the International Day of Peace will take place on 21 September with theme "Peace in Action" and will feature programmes in schools and initiatives implemented by youth organizations that promote a Culture of Peace.  Guest speakers will include Nane Annan, several Messengers of Peace and Alex Butchart, World Health Organization (WHO) Coordinator of Violence Prevention.

    For more information, please visit the UN's International Day of Peace website at www.un.org/peaceday .  Another resource is www.internationaldayofpeace.org , or contact Nickolai Parker, Consultant for the International Day of Peace, United Nations, tel.:  1 917 367-9330, e-mail:  parkern@un.org .

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