On April 5, every year, the International Day of Conscience is celebrated as a global day for awareness, celebrating the human conscience. The adoption of UN Resolution 73/329 birthed the establishment of this day on July 25, 2019 by the United Nations General Assembly. On April 5, 2020, the first International Day of Conscience was commemorated. According to article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Therefore, the United Nations is obligated to protect future generations from the scourge of war — an obligation which can only be achieved through transformation by adoption of the culture of peace which entails values, behaviors and attitudes that are reflections and inspirations for social interaction and sharing. This transformation is to be ensured on the basis of the principles of freedom, human rights, justice and democracy, tolerance and solidarity that frowns against violence while ensuring prevention of conflicts by addressing their roots causes to proffer solutions.
Abhorrence of human rights causes acts that rape the human conscience.
UN General Assembly’s consciousness of the need to create conditions of stability, wellbeing, and peaceful and friendly relations on the basis of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone with no discrimination regarding race, language, sex or religion led to the declaration of this global awareness day. UDHR’s preamble asserts that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.”
Creation of the highest aspiration of the common people has made the General Assembly call together all Member States, the United Nations System’s organizations, other international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, individuals, private sectors and civil society to strengthen the culture of peace with love and conscience. This is done according to the culture and other proper circumstances and customs of local, regional and national communities with inclusion of quality education and public sensitization activities that improve sustainable development.
A culture of peace is an open-minded global strategy.
Emergence of the concept of a culture of peace is traced to the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men under organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 1989, Côte d’Ivoire. Ever since, promoting this culture has been increasingly regarded as a significant objective of the international community. Evolvement of this concept has encouraged activities at many levels with active participation of civil society. As a result, the culture of peace is emerging as a global movement.
Construction of a culture of peace needs elaborate educational, social, civic and cultural actions that ensure everyone learns something while giving and sharing. It is considered an open-minded global strategy that aims at making a culture of peace continually attached to culture itself and enrooted in the hearts and minds of people. Peace is described as a positive, dynamic, participatory process that is intrinsically connected to democracy, justice and development for all which fosters respect for differences and encourages dialogue.
All humans are created with conscience and are allowed to act accordingly.
The International Day revolves around the foundations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its raison d’être, which is the promotion of peace. The message passed across through awareness and commemoration of the day is one that is very much required to sail through these uncertain times. Peace becomes weakened and broken down when the universality of conscience is challenged. For this reason, UDHR states that every human being is created with conscience and is permitted to act accordingly.
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