The UN Second High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace convened by H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, President of the 67th Session
of the General Assembly and the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace
at the United Nations' Trusteeship Council on September 6th, 2013.
The United Nations High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace second panel discussed “The Culture of Peace as the agenda for a new global civilization: Where are we NOW?”
* Panelists H.E.Mr Abul Kalam Azad, Minister of Cultural affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
, H. E. started his speech by saying peace begins in individuals. Culture of peace is universal and we all come from the same creator he said. He mentioned maintaining cultural peace starts with individual educator, families, governors, and we all need to work together to developing global model for cultural peace. He stressed UNESCO should take the leadership, by general assembly, society, civil international organizations, to mobilize government and private sector partnership to organize series of conferences of global summit. He talked about understanding religious and cultures, if there is no development, there is no peace. He said those important elements and about principals seems like not much done. Use of social media should be considered on a priority basis. He called for Program of Action
to implement the targeted programs nationally and globally for cultural of peace.
He talked about non-violence and the children of the war, and underlined how troops are contributing to peacekeeping operations in Bangladesh to end violence. He ended his speech with John Lennon’s song, "Imagine," which ends with the lyric “all the people living life in peace"
H.E. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships
, UN Women, stated that and wanted to believe that women and girls are the foremost champions of cultural peace. She mentioned UNESCO’s Charter of founding document, which says, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."
She then added, "Peace begins in the minds of women." Women are always for peace, in that sense to level of the individuals as the atomic unit family, community, unit, nation, state, universe in that order very important to link to gender equality women's empowerment begins, she said. Then she emphasized that great consciousness and awareness amongst women, amongst government and civil societies have been very active however discrimination of women in everywhere every day around the world is a sad reality today. We are in a state that we deny ourselves culture of people contributing of must not be allowed she underlined. H. E. Puri said facing violence against women in multiple times they face a continuous violence. If we achieve culture of peace, we must tackle to cultural facts at the heart of facts importance of justice, gender justice is critical what is UN doing advocating gender equality women’s empowerment at the dawn of this new millennium peace linked equality between man and women. UN women working to create economical power, political participation, and leadership for girls, ending violence against women and girls, enhances women's role prevention of conflict sustaining the cultural peace. She emphasized also man should be educated to learn against violence.
Moderator H. E. U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, supported her argument with quote “can any man run fast on a one foot, no, that foot that is neglected or ignored not being utilized is the women.“ H. E. continued, if the women is neglected no society can be at peace without utilizing that foot.” Freedom from violence will provide safety capabilities and resources and education, and leadership, participation in decision making for women. If civilization to survive, we must cultivate the signs of human relationship all kinds to live in the same world.
Mr. Azim Khamisa
, founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and President of the Child Safety Network
, had a very sad but inspirational story of himself. He said children are not safe in the world. Children are killing children. And he talked about his only child was killed by a 14 years old gang member, 18 years ago. He thought his son’s shooter also is a victim of our society. Who is the enemy, he is questioned. After he lost his son to violence, 9 months later he formed a foundation. His mission is to save lives of children. After forming his foundation, which dedicated to his son, he invited grandparents of his son’s killer to join and to help saving children. He talked about importance of three mandates:
- To empower the right choices,
- To teach the principal of non-violence, and
- Empathy, goodwill, peacemaking and forgiveness.
“Violence is a learned behavior, if you accept it; you have to teach it,” Mr. Khamisa stated. Later on his son’s killer joined him besides him he is fully committed to this mission. They are reaching out children and successfully keeping kids away from violence. He created a solution for youth violence. His foundation has the best record of reducing, repeats offenders, accomplished their mission by developing and helps parents to raise healthy children. He implemented educational safety system global basis and works with world’s largest organizations have complete solution. It can be done only collectively, we do have the solution and collaboration effective work, and UN major focus is on peace and security. Mr. Khamisa concluded his presentation by stating the following: "How to shift conflict into unity is our major focus," and referred Martin Luther King’s quote, “those who loved peace must learned to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
Tiffany Eashon, Peace Force
, she shared her organization's successful fieldwork in Sudan. What do we want, how do we get these to achieve cultural peace works in Sudan, doing fieldwork, she said. Helping civilians physical security 1.5 billion currently live in countries with repeated violence not one of these countries has achieved a single MDG 2011. She and her organization helped women, and civilians, accompanied women in the field to protect from rape and it’s been very effective strategy. They had also stopped cyclical violence between agriculturalists and cattle herders in South Sudan.
Last speaker was Ms. Grace Akollo, who is originally from Northern Uganda that she was a victim of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) there. Ms. Akollo was a child soldier. She spoke painfully as a child she was dreaming of becoming a lawyer or a doctor or somebody important in the future but that dream suddenly was taken away from her in 1996. When she was sleeping in the dormitory along with her other 139 girls were taken from Uganda to Sudan. She said a Catholic nun followed the rebels and rescued 109 girls but unfortunately she was among the 30 captives taken to Southern Sudan and detained with the army. She saw things that neither human being nor child should see it. She talked about how rebels force children to kill their own parent, siblings, own neighbors, forcing parents fathers’ to sleep with own daughters in front of the other siblings. She continued to talk about more inhumane situations that children being violently separated from their families. She continued children living in fear, children manipulated and brain washed, killed their own communities. Rebels are killing people each and every day. Children sent back to villages to destroy properties, where they lived in and abduct more children. Some of her friends were killed; some of them were forced to kill them because they tried to escape. Some of them are returned, but the girls were sick being affected by vulnerable diseases. Girls suffer triple, she said. Because they are not only soldier but also they also become child mothers, sex slaves, and rejected in the communities. Children in fear, and being used all over the world not only Sudan, Uganda Kongo. More than 300,000-500,00 children today in the world are being used by the armed conflict, government and militaries, Ms. Akollo has shared her horrific experiences and observations from the first account. She profiled the conditions further as girls are forced to marry older men at the age of 8, children are being trafficked, and girls are being used as sex slaves.
In conclusion, at this Second High Level Panel
of the day, which I was able to attend; each panelist talked about importance of education and implementing some development programs for the culture of peace. Especially women and children are left helpless, they become victim of violence. Hopefully the government officials, civil society and military working together with strategy that could resolve violence and ongoing conflicts. Along with non-profit organizations and agencies effective collaborations and their successful programs we, collectively and as an individual should take action at the local, international campaign to stop any form of violation of human rights. As Ms. Akallo suggested, "we need to rise to make it happen," and as Mr. Khahimsa underlined, "violence is a learned behavior. If you accept it, you have to teach it!"
Thus, let's strongly work against to all forms of violence-war related education, and replacing it with a Culture of Peace
education starting at an early age of each and every child as well as cross-cultures and inter-generarional in all societies in the world.