UN observes International Day of Peace with call for global truce
Updated: 2015-09-22 09:30
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a ceremony to mark the International Day of Peace, at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept 21, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire and "stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace" as the United Nations observed the International Day of Peace.
The UN chief made the call at the Peace Bell ceremony, which kicked off a series of events at UN Headquarters in New York for the Day, which is observed annually on Sept. 21 and whose theme this year is "Partnerships for Peace -- Dignity for All."
At the annual ceremony held here, the president of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, rang the Peace Bell in observance of the Day.
"Just as surely as striking this Bell makes a sound, we will continue to hammer this point and demand peace," Ban said.
"We live at a moment of peril," he said in his message for the Day, drawing attention to the fact that "this is also an era of great promise."
"In a matter of days, leaders from across the globe will gather at the United Nations to adopt the 2030 Agenda, our 15-year plan to achieve sustainable development," the secretary-general said. "This is fundamental to ushering in a life of dignity for all, where poverty is history and peace is paramount."
Joining the UN chief at the Peace Bell ceremony and later at the International Day of Peace Student Videoconference were UN Messengers of Peace anthropologist Jane Goodall and actor Michael Douglas, and UN Goodwill Ambassador and musician Herbie Hancock. Fellow Messenger of Peace and cellist Yo Yo Ma performed for the students attending the conference.
The International Day of Peace was set up in 1981 by the General Assembly to coincide with the opening of its session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. And in 2001, the General Assembly established Sept. 21 an annual day of non-violence and ceasefire.
"On the International Day, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, let us seize the opportunity achieve the Organization's founding purpose: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," the secretary-general said.