In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recognized the third Tuesday of September as World Peace Day. It was the opening day of the regular sessions of the General Assembly. Later in 2001, it announced 21 September as International Day of Peace. Also known as World Peace Day, the occasion aims to strengthen peace across nations by observing 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire.
South Sudan Council of Churches in partnership with KAIROS Canada and Finn Church Aid (FCA) conducted an event to commemorate International Day of Peace. The event was held on 21st September 2021 at Juba Christian Centre (JCC), Juba, South Sudan.
Observed and celebrated across the world the International Day of Peace is a day to completely devote to promoting global solidarity for building a peaceful and sustainable world. Apart from living in harmony, the day seeks to remind people and nations to think about the importance of universal peace.
Due to the continuous Civil War that started in 2013, the International Day of Peace is a constant reminder for South Sudan to focus on peacebuilding as the communal violence, armed conflict, and sexual gender-based violence are still of existence, this did not only destabilize the peace but also increased food insecurity and retarded our socio-economic development in the country.
Deriving from the global theme (“Recovering Better for an equitable and sustainable world”), the South Sudan Council of Churches adopted a biblical theme “Make efforts to keep yourselves together with peace” This theme is a gesture for South Sudanese to strive for unity as it is a month the remedies for building peace.
This event was graced by 146 participants (60females and 86males) from the church, youth peace committee, women peace committee, government, and development partners including key figures like Bishop Isaiah Dau, Hon. Gerald Francis State minister of Peace Building, CES. Rev. James Lagos Alexander, Her Excellency, Jenny Hill, the Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan, etc.
“Whether or not you are a direct actor, you will be affected by war,” said the Chairperson, Youth Peace Committee, Nelson Mandel, he urged Youths to change this narrative by changing their mindset and can advocate for peace. He added that it is the responsibility of the youth to work for peace.
Her Excellency, Jenny Hill, the Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan, expressed her delight to be part of the event. In her remarks, she called for accelerating the implementation of the peace agreement, saying people have hopes and dreams, this should be an opportunity to unite for a common goal. She further commended the youth for the work they are doing and encouraged them to keep up with their positive work towards Peace and urged for the inclusion of women in the peace processes.
In his remarks, Bishop Isaiah stated that peace should be modeled by the church leaders through the way they relate, conduct themselves and talk to each other. He added that when peace is planted in the heart, it blooms in the outside as well. Bishop Isaiah also mentioned that South Sudan is more than what is seen and there are beautiful things that we should focus on in South Sudan. He concluded with a prayer for peace in South Sudan.