The 2018 International day of peace was commemorated in Cameroon on 21 September, through an educational outreach event organized by UNIC Yaoundé, on the theme; “The Right to peace- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”with students of the Protestant University of Central Africa (PUCA) on SDG 16: promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Reverend Professor Mbima Bouba, Rector of the Protestant University of Central Africa welcome the UN Resident Coordinator and participants to the commemoration.
Prof. Celestin Tagou; Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and International Relations briefly presented his faculty and the work being done to make peace studies deeply rooted in the Cameroonian curricula.
Mrs. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator harped on the role of youths to engage in peace and be promoters of peace everywhere they find themselves. Quoting UNSG Antonio Guterres, she stated that “there is no peace without security, and no development without peace”.
She further drew the attention of participants to these questions;
Ø What will you do next time you receive a message of war on your phone, Facebook or WhatsApp?
Ø What will you do if you find yourself in a debate or a peaceful discussion about who is right or wrong?
“You can speak out, you can use an opportunity to bring peace. We should be peace seekers and peace makers, never to abandon this journey” Mrs. Baiocchi added.
UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the 2018 theme of the International day of peace, enlightening participants on the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today as it was when it was adopted in 1948. UNSG video message was also projected.
Workshop with students on SDG 16: Promote Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies
The official ceremony was immediately followed by presentations on the components of SDG16: Peace, Justice and Effective Institutions;
Ø Dr. William Arrey; Peace and Development (PUCA) on Peaceful Resolution of Crisis
Ø Mrs. Dorothée Onguene; (UNCHRD) on “Right to Peace and Access to Justice for All
Ø Mr. Zephirin Emini; (UNDP) on Building Effective Institutions
Respective presenters harped on the fact that a new paradigm to peace is needed, as it cannot always stand for the absence of war. If structural and cultural factors that cause violence are not controlled, then peace remains threatened. They advised that in seeking for peaceful resolutions, be in the families, communities or societies, dialogue and peaceful reconciliation remain the best options.
Mrs. Aya Bach facilitated the brainstorming session whereby students were divided into three working groups. After the deep reflections and exchanges in the sessions, students exposed their peace plans and took commitments for the peaceful resolution of Crisis and conflicts in their community.
Dr. William Arrey insisted that violence can never settle any dispute, thus the necessity to speak out and work for peace.
UNIC Yaoundé provided information kits comprised of; UNSG’s message on International Peace Day, UNGA resolutions 36/67 and 55/282 on International Year of Peace and International Day of Peace and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the over 115 persons in attendance.