Peace is not a gift

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This year, the celebrations for the International Day of Peace are more appropriate than ever. Talking about peace after the UN summit on immigrants and refugees, and during the uneasy truce in Syria, was of fundamental importance, at least to invite the countries to make a greater common effort, able to put an an end to a conflict like that in Syria – and all other wars around the planet – which is ceaseless, which produces lavish business deals for the traffickers and for the arms industry, and has already shed so much innocent blood, especially among the civilians, including many women and children.
In the resolution that establishes the Day of Peace, the United Nations called upon all countries to respect the cessation of hostilities and to commemorate the occasion through educational and awareness activities to peace. This year, the topic was “Goals for a Sustainable Development: to build peace streets,” a roadmap for peace and prosperity of all nations. “Peace – said on this occasion the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – does not come by chance, it is not a gift. Peace is something we have to work on every day.” We, the women of the CISL syndicate think in a similar way.

The war, in fact, is the denial of all rights and of all progress, work for peace means creating the conditions for sustainable and lasting development, where issues such as poverty, hunger, corruption, the reduction of natural resources and social inequality, the real causes of conflicts, have no room. How can you think of a normal life when your first concern is survival? When one is afraid to leave home and never come back (maybe a bomb will be dropped on him/her)? How can you stop the human tide in search of safety and protection that every day start their journey by land and sea knowing that they risk death? How can you think of ensuring the right to education to girls and children left to themselves and forced to flee? This week, UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has raised the alarm, pointing out that more than half of the 6 million school-age migrants worldwide do not attend school, 3.7 million children receive no primary or secondary education in developing countries (900 thousand in Syria alone).

A refugee in a hundred, reads the UN Agency report, is able to enter the university, against one in three, the percentage among “normal” young people. “All too often – according to the High Commissioner Filippo Grandi – education is a luxury asset for refugee children, an optional, something that is not essential and comes after food, water, a place to stay and medical care”. Moreover, lack of basic education “can be enormously detrimental, not only for individuals, but also for their families and for the society, perpetuating cycles of conflict and encouraging more mass migrations”. How can you think of promoting the principle of equality and equal opportunities for women and girls in those devastated areas? These questions trouble our consciences and everyone is called to contribute to it, in particular the bodies and institutions in charge, together with the whole political class that has great responsibility in finding possible peaceful solutions.

One thing is certain, however, their cause, that is war, a condition that places individuals against each other, which creates misery and social disintegration, where the most vulnerable, the elderly, women, children and girls risk more in terms of exploitation and violence in all forms, especially during their journeys of hope. The commitment made by many countries at the recent UN summit in New York, including Italy, to increase the global humanitarian aid for refugees and the promise to double the numbers of received refugees (more than 360 000 this year alone) is positive. Along with reception, we hope to increase the will and design skills for a wise and definitive diplomatic solution, involving the countries that are directly concerned, conflicts that remain the main cause of the flight of thousands and thousands of men, women and children. Because, as Pope Francis said, “only peace is holy, not war!”

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