The 21st of September is the United Nations recognised International Day of Peace. The day, established in 1981, is the shared date devoted to strengthening and creating ideals and acts of peace all around the world. The UN General Assembly resolved in 2001 (Resolution UN/A/RES/55/282) to declare the day a Day of Ceasefire, being “an invitation to all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the day”. The “temporary” ceasefire is meant to encourage individuals and nations to work to sustainable peace on a more permanent level and to give hope to victims of conflict for the possibility of peace.
The day can be celebrated in practically any way – from lighting a candle to sitting in silent meditation. In Uganda, Archbishop of Gulu Ecclesiastical Province of Northern Uganda John Baptist Odama will be awarded with the World Vision International Peace Prize for his contribution to promoting peace processes. The Archbishop Odama, who was nominated by JRP’s Community Documentation Team Leader, is best known for meeting with the LRA in 2002 in an attempt to convince the rebels to lay down their arms. Even today, the Bishop continues maintain efforts to bring peace in both Uganda and the region as a whole, including appealing to the Government to resort to dialogue as the only way of ending the insurgence. Recently, along with a team of other Northern Ugandan leaders traveled to the Central African Republic to negotiate and ascertain the condition of people held captive by the LRA.
The Award and the Day will be celebrated in Gulu at the Kaunda Grounds on the 19th of September. Read more about the Archbishop’s efforts to achieve peace in the region here.
The Justice and Reconciliation Project will also be celebrating Peace Day through a unique, youth centred initiative known as the 2012 Transitional Justice (TJ) Quiz. The TJ Quiz is an educational programme designed to connect youth from different parts of Northern Uganda to build a critical mass around transitional justice. Schools from Pader, Kitgum, Nwoya, Amuru and Gulu Districts are compete by answering rapid fire quiz questions on transitional justice issues, peace processes, international to scoop the regional prize on the eve of International Peace Day in Gulu. . The theme of the competition this year is “Everybody counts; Voices of Young People in Transitional Justice” and it is hoped that it will further increase awareness among the young people Uganda on the conflict as well as ongoing transitional justice debates within the country.
Read more about the quiz here.