The International Day of Peace which is also referred to as World Peace Day is observed on the 21st of September every year. It is dedicated to world peace and specifically the absence of war and violence, which might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. (Source: Wikipedia.com).
In 1981, The United Nations General Assembly declared in a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica, the International Day of Peace, to be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace. The date initially chosen was the regular opening day of the annual sessions of the General Assembly, the 3rd Tuesday in September. Tuesday, 21st September 1982 was the first observance of the International Day of Peace themed; ‘Right to peace of people’.
According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, The United Nations has three primary ways of maintaining international peace and security and all directly involve the Security Council. Under Chapter 6 of the UN charter, the UN can assist in the peaceful resolution of international disputes. This authority has evolved into the use of UN authorized peacekeeping forces. Under chapter 7 of the UN charter, the UN can authorize military action to enforce its resolutions. Finally, the UN can also serve as a forum for international deliberations on long-term solutions to pressing security issues, such as arms control and terrorism.
Peacekeeping is the non-aggressive use of military force to help nations in conflict reach a settlement. The UN Charter does not mention peacekeeping forces, although Chapter 6 of the charter does establish guidelines for peaceful resolution of international conflicts. The UN’s first peacekeeping effort took place in the Middle East in 1948 when the UN sent unarmed observers to help maintain the truce negotiated after five Arab countries attacked Israel earlier in the year. The UN first used armed peacekeepers during the Suez Crisis of 1956, when England, France, and Israel fought Egypt for control of the Suez Canal. The peacekeepers oversaw the withdrawal of French, British, and Israeli troops and acted as a buffer between the warring parties.
Today, the UN’s peacekeeping forces play a neutral role, working to calm regional conflicts in several ways. They can go into an area of conflict as observers, making sure agreements reached between opposing sides are being followed. They can provide a buffer between warring parties by physically interposing themselves in the middle. They can negotiate with military officers on both sides, providing a channel of communication. They can also monitor ceasefires, supervise elections, and provide humanitarian aid.
Security Situations in Syria & Libya
One of the things I enjoy doing is spending time with CNN. I stay clued to the Cable News Network so that I can catch the freshest gist on what is happening in ‘the world right now’ (Hala Gorani) because it is one of the ways I ‘connect the world’ (Becky Anderson). Yesterday evening, while I was ‘addressing’ dinner after a stressful day at work, I was mortified with gory pictures of the impact of a number of disparaging airstrikes in Aleppo – One of the Syrian cites that have suffered tremendously from continuous and ceaseless armed conflict.
In the same vein, every attempt at achieving a lasting peace in Libya since the ousting of the dictatorial ruler – Muommar Gaddaffi in 2011 has suffered series of continuous setbacks and the country is on its knees because the never-ending civil war has totally affected socioeconomic activities in the worst possible way.
The security situations in these countries call for sundry concern because they have dominated headlines in the most dehumanizing and embarrassing manner. In the course of this article, I would examine the role the United Nations has played in bringing a lasting peace to the war-torn countries and offer suggestions on a roadmap to conflict resolution that would bring about economic prosperity and harmonious co-existence. Please, let’s start with Libya.
It is quite regrettable that the potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, “Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya,” has come to fruition. Libya today is in the midst of a civil war—one as confusing as it is ferocious. Atrocities against civilians are mounting. The collapse of the Libyan state and the country’s division is possible. This has threatened Libya’s remaining oil and gas production and sparked new waves of migration to Europe and neighboring countries in North Africa.
Libya’s transitional road map fell apart in 2012, as the elected parliament and several subsequent governments failed to demobilize, disarm, and reintegrate revolutionary brigades that had fought against the Gaddafi regime. As a result, the brigades aligned with political factions and began to fight each other, killing thousands of Libyans, internally displacing about 400,000 people, and creating a refugee population of one to two million abroad. The conflict pits the Dawn coalition, which controls Tripoli and much of western Libya, against the Dignity coalition, which controls parts of Cyrenaica in the east, in particular Beida and Tobruk, as well as parts of Benghazi.
The situation is even worst in Syria, according to BBC estimates; more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with antigovernmental protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from the Islamic State. An explicit illustration can be gotten from the BBC official website. (www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868)
Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators killing several, more took to the streets. The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Al Assad’s resignation. The government use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters’ resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country. Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas.
Suggestion & Conclusion
The news of how a proposed ceasefire in Syria between Russia and the United States broke down dominated headlines yesterday as the US accursed Moscow of dishonoring the agreement. It is evident that almost all avenues at achieving a lasting peace has been exhausted but I would implore the United Nations and other World powers (that genuinely want peace to rein) to continue to deliberate and negotiate with warring parties on how best to end the conflict in both countries. Dialogue is of utmost importance especially where we have a huge number of human casualties.
The International Day of Peace 2016 theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict.
Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.
God Bless Us All
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues.
He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.