The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
According to the General Assembly resolution establishing the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence".
On Friday, 30 September 2011, the Permanent Mission of India organizes a special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence. The 2011 commemoration will be focused on the theme, "Non-Violence as an instrument of social change – Why Gandhi Matters”.
Gandhi, who helped lead India to independence, has been the inspiration for non-violent movements for civil rights and social change across the world. Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to his belief in non-violence even under oppressive conditions and in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Definition of Non-Violence:
The principle of non-violence — also known as non-violent resistance — rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Often described as "the politics of ordinary people", this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations all over the world in campaigns for social justice.
One key tenet of the theory of non-violence is that the power of rulers depends on the consent of the population, and non-violence therefore seeks to undermine such power through withdrawal of the consent and cooperation of the populace.
There are three main categories of non-violence action:
The Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Professor Wangari Maathai. A globally recognized champion for human rights and women’s empowerment, Professor Maathai was a pioneer in articulating the links between human rights, poverty, environmental protection and security — for which she was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
The United Nations Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, music and sports, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations.
Edited: G. Cornwell
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