Puntland: Joining hands for peace

23 octobre, 2012

Peace Day celebrations in Puntland culminated in more than 50 people from reconciled communities joining hands to form a peace circle. Participants came together in Garowe, Puntland, to emphasize the vital importance of lasting peace for sustainable development.

Interpeace’s local partner in Puntland, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) had invited community members to share their views on a common vision for lasting peace. Special emphasis was placed on creating a neutral space for youth affected by conflicts to engage in dialogue and identify their role in bringing lasting peace to their communities.

Youth can play an important role in peacebuilding

The event was opened by Said Dahir Qodah, Deputy Minister of Labor, Youth and Sports and guest of honour on behalf of the government of Puntland. He called on youth –  one of the state’s most important resources – not to join the violence but instead to join hands to contribute to the creation of peaceful, prosperous and vibrant communities.

The meeting proceeded with a screening of PDRC’s documentary film on social reconciliation processes, which the younger participants found particularly stimulating. “It made us realize that we can play an important role in peacebuilding,” explains one participant. The part that youth and also women can play to support peace was then further examined in an hour-long plenary discussion. “Dialogue is extremely useful to reduce distrust and encourage cooperation among conflict-affected youth,” adds another participant. “It will also stop youth from being the ‘firewood’ of our community.”

Peace is the foundation for economic development

The participants also agreed on the fact that peace is a necessary condition for the delivery of humanitarian aid and ultimately, to establish an environment for sustainable development.

At the end of the workshop, a Peace Pledge drafted and signed by all participants of the ceremony  was officially released to the media. One participant explained: “We all pledged today that we will strive for the establishment of peace in our communities and urge all parties to any conflict to resort to dialogue and mediation rather than to firearms.”

The event brought together representatives from the Puntland government, civil society organizations and a number of elders and youth from rural communities.

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