World honors Mahatma Gandhi with International Day of Non-Violence

Published date04 October 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
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Gandhi's campaign against British rule of India employed nonviolent resistance, which was later emulated in movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. It is because of his philosophy and strategy of nonviolence that Gandhi's birthday, October 2, is marked as the International Day of Non-Violence.

The principle of nonviolence – also known as nonviolent resistance – rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Nonviolence is not passivity or submission, experts point out. Rather, nonviolence extends to protests such as demonstrations and vigils, as well as blockades and occupations or sit-ins.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on June 5, 2007, designating each year on October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.

The resolution, with 140 cosponsors, reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of nonviolence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and nonviolence."

The idea for the International Day of Non-Violence was first proposed in 2004 by Iranian political activist, lawyer, and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, the founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, becoming the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize. Ebadi had actually proposed January 30, the day Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist, as the International Day of Non-Violence, but Sonia Gandhi and Archbishop Desmond Tutu together proposed the Indian leader's birthday instead.

Statements by the UN and their officials

The text adopted by the General Assembly said: "Bearing in mind that nonviolence, tolerance, full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, democracy, development, mutual understanding, and respect of diversity, are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, it invited all member states, United Nations organizations, regional and nongovernmental organizations, and individuals to commemorate the international day in an appropriate manner and to disseminate the message of nonviolence, including through education and public awareness."

Last year on October 2, UN Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted in honor of the day: "Hatred, division and conflict have had their day. It is time to usher in a new era of peace, trust and tolerance. On this International Day of Non-Violence - Gandhi's birthday...

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