The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 as a day to educate and promote an end to war and the development of peace and non-violence at all levels of society. The day coincides with the annual opening session of the United Nations General Assembly which is the third week of September. The day is commemorated at the United Nations and around the world.
Civil society actions are promoted and supported through Peace One Day.
“Awareness of Peace Day creates action, and that action saves lives.”
— Jude Law – Peace One Day Ambassador
The UN has appointed a number of UN Messengers for Peace to elevate and publicise the International Day of Peace and the possibilities of peace through the United Nations.
On 2 December 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991. The United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media are encouraged to use the day to educate and advocate about the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as an important measure to protect the environment, prevent nuclear proliferation and achieve a nuclear weapons free world.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly, the aim of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is to enhance ‘public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination, in order to mobilize international efforts towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.’ The resolution establishing the day also calls for the immediate start of multilateral negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention – a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons – and decides to hold a high level United Nations conference no later than 2018 to review and enhance progress.
The day is supported by UNFOLD ZERO and the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs. UNFOLD ZERO provides a platform for governments, parliaments and civil society to post announcements, photos and reports of actions and events to commemorate this day.
The Inter Parliamentary Union (164 member parliaments) has called on all parliamentarians to promote and commemorate the day.
“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”
— Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1927
The International Day of Non-Violence is commemorated on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
The day was established in 2007 by UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271. The International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”, “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.
Interesting previous actions for the International Day include the World March for Peace and Non-violence, which started in New Zealand on October 2, 2009 and travelled around the world engaging world leaders, celebreties, activists and hundreds of thousands of others in promoting non-violence.
“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”. (Mahatma Gandhi)