“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
On September 21 each year, the world observes the International Day of Peace. The 2021 United Nations’ theme for this day is “recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.” With the rise of tensions, discrimination, hatred, and severe inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is more aware than ever of the importance of achieving positive peace, which is “a true, lasting, and sustainable peace built on justice for all peoples.”
Despite the urgent need for the absence of war and physical violence, it is insufficient to bring about sustainable peace and security. Long-term stability and harmony cannot be attained without a holistic approach to dismantle the “structures and cultures of violence.” Addressing both direct and structural forms of violence is essential in peacebuilding, as well as fostering a culture of peace, which is achieved primarily by honoring international standards of human rights and equity.
There is no peace with unjust and inequitable social and economic structures, nor with authoritarian governments that intimidate and oppress their people. Countries in which governments resort to or condone violence, whether physical, psychological, economic, cultural, or political, as a means of control experience “a false sense of peace.” Similarly, entrenched social injustice, racism, and widespread gender-based violence impede building peaceful societies, and political, economic, social, and cultural discrimination and marginalization stand in the way of stability and integration. Therefore, eliminating the root causes of war, violence, and injustice is a pre-condition to achieve a state of peace.
On the International Day of Peace, Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) salutes and stands in solidarity with all individuals, groups, and organizations who are working to resolve conflicts peacefully, defend human rights and fight hatred vigorously, and struggle for justice and equality relentlessly.