On International Day of Peace, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls upon the public to join the rest of the world in making a commitment towards promoting peace in the world. The public is also urged to join the rest of the world in observing 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire. In addition, ZLHR urges Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that all persons are protected from all forms of violence.
International Day of Peace is observed every year on 21 September to draw attention to the need to promote the ideals of peace around the world. International Day of Peace was first recognised in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly and, since 2001, it has been used as a 24-hour period for calling for non-violence and cease-fire.
Moreover, International Day of Peace is an opportunity for humanity to make a commitment towards fostering peace with nature through combatting climate change. A peaceful world is one which is environmentally friendly.
The theme for the 2021 International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.” The theme seeks to highlight how the devastating impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made it necessary for all nations to collaborate in order to provide vulnerable persons living in conflict-affected areas with access to healthcare. A sustained global ceasefire is necessary in order to ensure that persons living in conflict-affected areas have access to life-saving vaccinations and COVID-19 treatment.
Moreover, the theme emphasises how inclusive and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is important for ensuring sustainable peace and development. Global peace is intrinsically linked to the goals of equality, justice, social inclusion and sustainable development. The global surge in stigma and discrimination that has accompanied the pandemic has threatened the progress made towards global peace at a time when unity is essential for saving lives from succumbing to COVID-19.
In Zimbabwe, authorities are urged to ensure that all persons are protected from violence and conflict. In terms section 52(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to freedom from all forms violence from public and private sources. This means that the State has an obligation to take preventative steps that are designed to protect everyone from all forms of violence. Sadly during the last year, members of the public have fallen victim to acts of violence perpetrated by State and non-Stare actors. Although the State has an obligation to adopt measures to prevent domestic violence, in terms of section 25(b) of the Constitution, such acts of violence continue unabated. Government has an obligation to put in place and enforce measures that promote peace in the public and private spheres. These measures should include awareness campaigns aimed at combating the beliefs and norms that perpetuate the harmful practice of domestic violence, as well as reforming errant State institutions that have been at the forefront of perpetrating acts of violence.
On this International Day of Peace, ZLHR calls upon:
- The public to join the rest of the world in making a commitment towards promoting peace;
- The Zimbabwean authorities to take necessary measures to maintain peace and ensure that all persons are protected from all forms of violence.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights