Civil society, faith-based organisations and government agencies that work to promote peace have resolved to partner in their peace promotion and development efforts.
This was the key message at a peace forum dubbed, ‘Countdown to Peace Day 2015,’ in Kigali, yesterday, to deliberate on ways to mark this year’s Peace Day slated for September 21.
The forum was convened by Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation that urges United Nations member states to adopt an annual day for global ceasefire and non-violence.
The forum was held as Burundians are engaged in clashes with police over Saturday’s endorsement of President Pierre Nkurunziza as his ruling party’s flag bearer in the June poll.
Floride Tuyisabe, a unity and reconciliation researcher at the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), said government was open to concerted efforts toward peace with local and international players involved in peace promotion.
“It provides avenues to pursue dialogue at community level by engaging in activities such as sports, concerts, which bring together members of the community from diverse backgrounds,” Tuyisabe said.
Through the joint efforts, stakeholders also agreed that it will be possible to address societal ills such as domestic and sexual violence.
Cecil Nyiramana, the coordinator of the department of peace and reconciliation under the African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, said the partnership could bring about collective action to address the issue and set up holistic strategies to be jointly pursued.
“It is a good opportunity to invite more partners to celebrate peace and fight domestic and sexual violence and raise awareness on the existence of assistance to victims,” Nyiramana said.
Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator, said the development was crucial in peace building and conflict management.
“For peace to be achieved and sustained, there has to be continuous and sustainable development. That is why we and other partners are also heavily engaged in promoting development,” Manneh said.
Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare, the mufti of Rwanda, said it is as a result of joint efforts and cooperation with other stakeholders that they could not only achieve lasting peace in the country but also in neighbouring countries affected by conflict.
Giving an example of a joint intervention by the Rwandan religious community and civil society in the Central African Republic, the mufti said they hosted religious and youth leaders from the restive nation last year and will this week visit CAR on a peace building mission.