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AFGHAN CELEBRITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY, UNAMA
JOIN TOGETHER TO LAUNCH THE 2009 PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN CAMPAIGN

KABUL, 1 SEPTEMBER 2009 – Afghan celebrities, civil society representatives, and UN staff today joined hands at simultaneous events in Kabul, Mazar, Kunduz and Jalalabad to launch the 2009 ‘What Are You Doing for Peace in Afghanistan?’ campaign.

The campaign, which runs from now till International Peace Day on September 21, is being launched at a time of heightened conflict but aims nonetheless to be the most ambitious and determined peace effort that Afghanistan has seen.

This year’s campaign will feature numerous initiatives in support of peace by individual citizens and groups plus a polio immunization drive that will aim to reach millions of children in some of the most insecure areas in the country.

Afghanistan’s peace campaigns have become annual events since their launch in 2007. The campaigns are entirely apolitical and open to involvement by any individual or organization. They serve to promote openings for reconciliation and humanitarian access.

Previous campaigns in 2007 and 2008 have brought together the efforts of thousands of Afghan groups, businesses, individuals, and international celebrities, resulting in 3.4 million Afghan children being vaccinated against polio. The 2007 campaign featured in the international movie ‘Day After Peace’.

Kai Eide, Special Representative of the Secretary-General said: “There is huge demand for peace which is so desperately needed in this country. UNAMA is today calling on all those working for peace in Afghanistan to give voice to this demand by coming together in a massive collective effort for peace.”

Seddiq Barmak, filmmaker, Golden Globe Award winner and UN Peace Ambassador said: “Years of war and bloodshed are roaring – the love through the smoke and flames of this war has changed to hatred. Let's come together to cultivate the seeds of love and affection. Forgiveness and reaching out hands to each other will create peace.”

Timor Hakimyar, director of Afghan Civil Society Organisations Network for Peace said: "Peace is not only resolving conflict but the process of living together and having a good life. Peace is a right and it will guarantee the dignity and honour of every human being.”

Peace Day is not just about the 21 September – the coming three weeks give us all an opportunity to raise awareness and gain commitments from our families, friends and communities for peace.

We must all take part and take responsibility for bringing peace in Afghanistan.

This can make a difference – moments of peace can be created – children can be vaccinated, food can be delivered and we can all play our part in this. Let’s build that momentum and reach out further to those communities most impacted by the current conflict.


NOTES TO EDITORS:

• Join Afghanistan’s peace campaign now. Visit UNAMA’s Peace Day 2009 website: http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=2109


• The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.”

• For further information on Peace Day 2009 in Afghanistan, please contact: http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1767

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