Let’s uphold peace as a unique value

September 21, 2020

On the International Day for Peace, Development and Peace joins the Caritas Internationalis family in calling to put the “human person above all vested interests”

The International Day of Peace is an important occasion for humanity to uphold peace as a unique value and to express unconditional commitment to peace above all differences.

“When we fight poverty and oppose the unfair conditions of the present, we are not just promoting human well-being; we are also furthering man's spiritual and moral development, and hence we are benefiting the whole human race. For peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men.” (Populorum Progressio, 76).

Unfortunately, humanity today continues to witness millions of people living in dire conditions due to war and violence, which prevent them from living their human condition in dignity. Millions are dying due to the absence of peace, due to war and violence attributable to selfishness, greed, corruption, religious and ethnic discrimination, and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. The memory of the past must lead us to a conversion and to aspire for a world where peace and harmony will contribute to integral human development.

At a time when COVID-19 has revealed the fragility and vulnerability of human existence and brought all humanity together in solidarity to combat the pandemic, we need to stand together to fight against all forms of division, all temptation of hatred and, as Pope Francis has repeatedly said, to act against “mistrust and fear that weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence.”

Development is the new name of peace.  

Development and Peace — Caritas Canada partners with grassroots organisations to address the root causes of conflicts and violence through conflict prevention, mediation and peace-building; and by accompanying, caring for and giving voice to vulnerable people living in crisis areas and difficult social environments. This is in recognition of the aspiration of people everywhere to peace, harmony and lives of dignity.

Revisit our 2017 May Peace be with her campaign to better understand the role of women in peacebuilding and how Development and Peace’ partners work to build lasting peace in Afghanistan, Colombia and Syria. Read the campaign backgrounder to learn more.

Peace cannot be attained without the courageous and selfless act of putting the human person and the human condition above any other vested interests. On this International Day for Peace, we join Caritas Internationalis in reiterating the call to: 

  • Stop wars and violence around the world and especially in the Middle East and to promote much-needed dialogue for political solutions to problems. Violence and killing will only engender more hatred.
  • Lift the sanctions on Syria that clearly do not help promote peace, but rather have the detrimental effect of aggravating conflict. Lifting the sanctions may also encourage political leaders to gather at the negotiation table. 
  • Make every effort and to implement initiatives that can bring peace to areas of conflict. This entails ensuring that international development aid accords due importance to grassroots peace-building and reconciliation initiatives focussed on promoting community-centred peace and harmony. Such initiatives include the creation of education and employment opportunities, especially for young people at risk of being recruited by armed groups and militias.
  • Support the effort of religious leaders and faith-based communities engaged in promoting interreligious dialogue.