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Press Release: International Day of Peace

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On the occasion of the celebration of the International day of Peace, 21st September 2012; in light of the sustenance of the African Union Make Peace Happen Campaign (MPHC) which was launched in 2010 as well as the marking of 2012 as the AU decade of operation; in continued performance of our responsibility as the Civil Society Partner to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the operationalization of the ECOWAS Early Warming Mechanism and in recognition of our vital role as a member of the Peace and Security Cluster of the AU ECOSOCC and the West Africa Initiator and host of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), joins the African community of Civil Society Organizations, the African Union and ECOWAS to advocate and appeal for Peace and justice in West Africa and Africa at large. Within the broader context of West Africa, this appeal particularly focuses on:

All the countries in the sub region going through or preparing towards elections and transition for a non-violent and peaceful general election;

Call on all the citizens of the sub region who express their grievances through act of violent extremism in form of religious fanaticism, ideological orientation, secessionist bid, among others to embrace dialogue and joint problem solving as a means of articulating their concerns and ensuring the stability of the state.

Further call on those involved in all acts of ethnic, chieftaincy, land, communal and other forms of intra-state conflicts to cease fire and bring their concerns to a negotiation table and urge the concern states to provide the environment that will ensure such pondering and meditative actions While everyday indeed is a day of peace, the symbolism of the International Day of Peace provides a unique platform to highlight the work of justice and peace in our collective efforts to build a democratic and non violence culture in West Africa where the respect for basic human rights, social justice, peace, freedom and prosperity will sustain peaceful coexistence in our communities and in our Nations.

Throughout the past two decades, the West African sub-region has suffered from destructive violent conflicts that have produced profound human tragedies requiring massive humanitarian and peacekeeping interventions. WANEP is convinced that more than ever before, we must be working towards the prevention of the escalation of violence and destruction rather than reacting to outbreaks of such violence. It is in this regard that the incidences of violence in expressing electioneering grievances, discontent with the management and distribution of state resources and indeed all forms of grumbles in the sub region is regrettable and demands a concerted effort to ensure an end.

Ultimately, preventing violent conflicts requires addressing underlying issues and conditions that create ground for such violence to fester. In the immediate however, urgent actions are required to minimize mistrust and build confidence towards the electoral processes, participatory democracy and management of state resources. Beyond the numerous appeals for peace and various peace campaigns, restoring public confidence that the pursuance of Justice shall be firm and fair to all with professionalism and impartiality is also critical.

On this International Day of Peace, WANEP also re-echoes and fully shares in the message of the African Union – MAKE PEACE HAPPEN and the commitment of our leaders when they declared “"We are determined to deal once and for all with the scourge of conflict and violence on our continent acknowledging our shortcomings and errors ,committing our resources and our best people and missing no opportunity to push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction.

We, as leaders, simply cannot bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans". “ The West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) will deploy all efforts to support this noble cause. The challenge of attaining peace, security stability across the entire African continent is clearly an undertaking that should be sustained for many years. The International Day of Peace offers an unprecedented opportunity for African citizen, as well as African institutions, civil society organizations in partnership with governments and the international community, to celebrate our accomplishments and to review current efforts to peacebuilding on the continent, with a view to strengthening these and where appropriate launching concrete new initiatives for peace and security.

As noted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon when he said “I urge everyone, between now and 21 September, to think about how they can contribute. Let us work together to ensure that the Road from Rio leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace and a secure future for all.” We will continue to build relationship for peace and ultimately

MAKE PEACE HAPPEN For further enquiries on this kindly contact the Executive Director, WANEP, +233 302 775975/77