By Rev. Fr John Damian Adizie
Peace is the essence of human existence. It is the beauty of life and the only channel through which human beings can live in harmony. It is the principle of mutual co-existence. Without peace there will be no harmony and without harmony the-re will be no develop-ment. The world cannot even exist without peace.
Most religions including Christianity and Islam claim that peace is the essence of their religions. Muslims describe their religion as the religion of peace. Ironically, Nigeria where this religion of pea-ce exists there have been the most deadly religious clashes. It seems none understands what religion of peace means.
Considering the import-ance of peace, Septemb-er 21 has been set aside as International Day of Peace. It is not just a day to talk about peace as a mere principle but also a day to celebrate and pro-mote peaceful co-exist-ence and the nature of Peace as fundamental human right. Incidentally, the theme of this year’s International day of Peace is “The Right to peace— the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” Every human be-ing has a right to peaceful co-ex-istence.
Rights that has to do with pea-ce includes: the right to life, wh-ich has to do with the right to safety and sust-enance. The ri-ght to dignity en-tails protection from violence, fear and discrimination. It is against all forms of to-rture and inhuman treat-ment, especially by poli-ce. Others include; the ri-ght to live in peace and in a culture of peace.
The right to political measures that strengthen peace includes the prom-otion of dialogue, cooper-ation and the control of the use of force. The ri-ght to education has to do with the promotion of research in favour of pea-ce and human right.
Wher-eas the right to peaceful expression includes the freedom of thought, con-science, religion, associat-ion and peaceful assem-bly. Of course, the right to reside and participate in any place of one’s cho-ice includes the right to the status of refugee and emigrates. Early this year in his World Day of Peace message, the Holy Father, Pope francis, released a message which he titled “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace” For the Holy Fa-ther, justice and care for all, especially migrants and refugees is the ess-ence of peace. He made a passionate appeal, say-ing: “In a spirit of comp-assion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, perse-cution, poverty and env-ironmental degradation to leave their homelands.”
Without proper care for refugees, Internally dis-placed person and other less privileged persons there will be no justice and without justice there will be no sustainable peace and development. As we celebrate Internat-ional day of peace, we pray – Let there be peace!