International Day of Non-Violence is an annual commemoration with the aim of raising awareness on the philosophy of non-violence through education.
The United Nations General Assembly designated the 2nd of October, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a prominent figure of the Indian freedom struggle, as an opportunity to promote Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy and approach and foster a new era of peace and tolerance.
The celebration of the International Day of Non-Violence is an invitation to all to prioritize the strengthening of peace, security & governance, intensify efforts to ensure the realization of all human rights, and reject violence and hatred as a tool for change and sustainable development.
Hence, it calls for unity and the establishment of a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding through means of education and dialogue. Furthermore, through the promotion and practice of non-violence, this day encourages adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, solidarity and pluralism at all levels of society.
Despite the progress made in preventing violations and strengthening the protection of human rights, physical, psychological, racial, institutional or religious violence rises in frequency, as stated by the UN Chief, “Conflicts and climate change. Poverty and inequalities. Mistrust and divisions. All under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to devastate people and economies alike.”
Therefore, it is necessary, now more than ever, to reaffirm commitment to the culture of non-violence, and encourage cooperation to support inclusive recovery for all.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights, as it participates in the celebration of International Day of Non-Violence, takes inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi's diligent efforts in achieving freedom through the promotion of the ideals of truth and non-violence. Within that framework, the Institute calls on governments, key national and international actors, governmental and nongovernmental institutions to :
Reject violence in all its forms;
Strengthen national protocols and legislation to enforce legal repercussions for those who engage in violent activity,
Encourage the practice of constructive and peaceful dialogue in conflict settlement.
Ensure the effective implementation of key international instruments and their integration into domestic law.
Intensify national efforts to eradicate impunity for human rights abuses.
Acknowledging the recurrent and increasing prevalence of the incitement to violence, states must adopt a zero tolerance policy towards violence. Moreover, a unified and concerted effort of national, local and regional actors, including law enforcement and human rights enforcement & monitoring bodies, is required to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.