London, 12 June 2012. Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley’s not-for-profit organisation, has teamed up with Interpeace to establish the NGO coalition for Global Truce 2012. Martin Bell, former BBC war correspondent and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and Emmanuel Jal, former child soldier and South Sudanese musician, launched the Global Truce 2012 NGO Coalition this morning in Central London.
Martin and Emmanuel were joined by representatives from leading NGOs across the world. BRAC, MAG (Mines Advisory Group), Mercy Corps and War Child, came together to confirm their commitment to Peace Day 21 September 2012 and to the Global Truce 2012 campaign. Video statements from ACCORD and Viva Rio completed the line up of founding NGOs.
Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day said: “To see such a strong show of support from the NGO community is inspiring. I’m grateful to Interpeace and all the participating organisations here today, and we invite others around the world to join us. Having established 21 September as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, unanimously adopted by United Nations member states, we now hope to see the largest ever reduction of violence on one day – Peace Day 21 September 2012. What a powerful message of hope that would send to the global community, particularly young people. With support such as we are seeing here today I’m very hopeful that we can achieve it and make history.”
Scott M. Weber, Director-General of Interpeace, said: “This is an exciting line up of leading international organisations. It is a clear demonstration of just how important peace is for all of us to do our work and achieve our goals, no matter if we’re in conflict prevention, humanitarian work, peacebuilding or development.” He added: “We will be taking this coalition to the next stage and welcoming other NGOs to join as our peacebuilders in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the Middle East plan how they will be marking Peace Day and Global Truce 2012 this September in their countries."
Nick Roseveare, Chief Executive of MAG (Mines Advisory Group) said: “After 23 years of working in over 40 conflict-affected countries, it is sometimes hard to see a day when the world will be completely free from war and armed violence. Until then, we have a responsibility to work towards securing some form of peace for the global communities we serve. Initiatives such as the UN Peace Day are crucial in raising awareness of the barriers to peace and inspire us to look towards the solutions, of which we can all be part.”
Valerie Ceccherini, Mercy Corps Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor, said: “Violent conflict takes a terrible toll. Generations of children around the world suffer its effects every day, and have grown up believing that violence is the only way to find a job, to find meaning or to simply stay alive. We are committed to changing this reality and are very proud to be here today at the launch of the Global Peace 2012 campaign. By working together we can bring the issue of peace to the fore and really draw attention to conflict issues and peacebuilding worldwide.”
Vasu Gouden, Founder and Executive Director of Accord, stated: “There are many conflicts in Africa today and we have made huge progress but are still plagued in other parts. Significantly I am currently in Ghana to announce ACCORD’s 2012 African Peace Award in recognition of stability and hope. One day we will get rebel groups and insurgent groups to lay down their arms and call a truce – so we can show as humanity that we can make peace happen.”
Robert Evans, a Trustee of BRAC UK, stated: “As an organisation that works in some of the countries heavily hit by war, for example South Sudan and Afghanistan, we are pleased to provide some of the building blocks that are empowering a new generation of believers in peace, especially women and children. A war-torn region in one generation can be a holiday destination in another – it clearly demonstrates peace is possible.”
Helen Ord, War Child Finance Director, stated: “Nothing worth doing is ever easy. But if children and young people are the catalyst, Peace One Day could just be the vehicle for change.”
Martin Bell, former BBC war correspondent commented: “Peace One Day is one of the life-saving peace initiatives of our time and I do all I can to support it. I have deep personal experience of both war and peace. In 1972 I was in Vietnam where I thought peace was unimaginable. At the time, I wrote that peace was like snow, something only ever heard of there, but never actually experienced."
Emmanuel Jal, former child soldier and South Sudanese musician, said: “Peace is justice, equality and freedom for all. Peace is when my belly is full. Peace is when conflicts are managed in a mature manner and violence is reduced. I’m passionate about peace because I’ve experienced life both with and without it - I can sleep in a peaceful place now and I want children to enjoy the same.”
The event was held at London’s unique and historic Central Hall Westminster, which was the chosen venue for the very first meeting of the United Nations in 1946.
The NGO Coalition is the third Global Truce 2012 coalition to be launched by Peace One Day. Baroness Scotland (EDV Global Foundation) leads the Coalition on ‘Reducing Domestic Violence’ and the National Union of Students in the UK, along with student leaders from around the world, are championing the Student Coalition. A Peace One Day concert opening the London 2012 Festival on 21 June 2012 in Derry-Londonderry will mark the three-month countdown to Peace Day 2012. A second concert, effectively the final show of the Festival, will take place at Wembley Arena on Peace Day, 21 September 2012.