UN chief urges investment in young people as peace-builders
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for stepped-up investment in the world's 1.8 billion young people as peace-builders at the General Assembly high-level forum on the Culture of Peace, Xinhua reported.
"The vast majority of the world's 1.8 billion young people yearn for peace, security and development. That is why I am calling for giving young people a seat at the negotiating table," said Ban.
"It is time to invest in young people as peace-builders. They can make massive contributions to lasting stability," he said.
The secretary-general also highlighted Syria as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis today".
"I have condemned the parties - especially the government (of Syria) - for reported grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," he said.
"We need political will and we need funds. All those with influence must rise above their narrow interests and work for the greater good of the region and our world," he said.
Wednesday's meeting was designed to highlight the importance of implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace that the Assembly adopted in September 1999 and the need to further strengthen global movements to promote a culture of peace.
"To be more than just soothing words, the culture of peace demands courageous practice. Our road map is the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace," Ban said.
"For more than ten years, we have been striving to carry out this action by promoting education, defending human rights and advancing solidarity," he said.
Ban cited late Mahatma Gandhi, one of the great leaders of the Indian independence movement, saying "There will be no lasting peace on earth unless we learn not merely to tolerate but even to respect the other faiths as our own."
"Mahatma Gandhi proved that the culture of peace can change the course of history. Let us carry on this legacy until we end the terrible suffering in our world and establish lasting peace," Ban added.
Gandhi's grandson, Arun Gandhi, delivered the keynote address at the meeting and shared some of the knowledge he had learned from his grandfather.
"What I learned from grandfather is that each one of us contributes to violence all the time. Many times in ways we don't even know and recognize," he said. "Unless we individually transform ourselves and accept a non-violent way of life, we cannot create peace in the world today."