Annually on September 21, the UN encourages all nations and people to pay tribute to a cessation of hostilities. It also urges the celebration of the International Day of Peace.
In his International Day of Peace message UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world. We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence, at noon local time, to honour the victims – those who have lost their lives, and those who survived but must now cope with trauma and pain. The theme of this year’s observance is Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.”
In Yangon, Burma’s former capital, there was a vibrant rally celebrating International Day of Peace yesterday. Despite not having the approval of the authorities, the peaceful walks, mainly organized by the Kachin Peace Network and combined by several civil organizations, set off from the Yangon City Hall as planned since last week.
Hundreds of people, students, civil society groups, artist, musicians, including the Kachin Peace Network and Myanmar Social Development Network, met in downtown Yangon, scores of them wearing blue T-shirts bearing the slogan – Stop Civil War.
Scores of residents in Yangon also joined in Friday’s peaceful march along a number of main roads in several townships. The mass activities seek to call upon overall ceasefire for peace in the country, especially to end warfare in Kachin state.
“We need the rule of law to get peace. When we get peace, we can get development… so we ask for rule of law first, then to build peace”, said Nay Myo Zin, leader of civil society group the Myanmar Social Development Network, according to a report by Agence France-Presse in Yangon.
Reaching their destination, the peace marchers put up a peace commitment pillar on the embankment of the Inya Lake. In addition, they issued a statement that demanded 5 points; To stop all armed conflicts totally; President Thein Sein must truly take charge to stop civil war; Each Parliament must issue a statement demanding an end to all conflicts; The Commander-in-Chief of the Military and all leaders of ethnic armed groups must issue respective orders to stop fighting completely; The Judiciary sector must work for rule of law in the war zones.
According to Eleven Media Group, senior police officer Myint Htwe said during a Friday press conference at the Yangon Division Police office that police had to take action on the organizers and marchers of the International Day of Peace movement yesterday.
On the same day the Karen National Union (KNU) released a statement calling for “tri-partite dialogue so that all ethnic and political groups can be represented and a consensus can be reached and provide a stable foundation for genuine peace and democracy in our country.”
KNU also call for immediately halt all military operations in Kachin State on the International Day of Peace. KNU’s statement intensely said that to establish a genuine and permanent peace government must have willingness allowing all sides to enter into political dialogue to address the root causes on conflict, and resolve it in political means.
The civil war between Kachin Independence Army and government armed forces has become more ruthless with daily hostilities. Despite talk of reform, government soldiers have systematically stepped up hostilities, the Kachin News Group (KNG) said.