Tamale, Sept. 21, GNA – The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP-Ghana) has joined the African community of civil society organizations, the African Union and ECOWAS to advocate for peace and justice in Ghana, West Africa and Africa at large, as the world marks the International Day of Peace which falls on 21st September every year.
WANEP said the symbolism of the Day provides a unique platform to highlight the work of justice and peace in the collective effort to build a democratic and non-violence culture in West Africa where the respect for basic human rights, social justice, peace, freedom and prosperity will sustain peaceful coexistence in the communities and in the nations.
It noted that throughout the past two decades, the West African sub-region had suffered from destructive violent conflicts that had produced profound human tragedies requiring massive humanitarian and peacekeeping interventions , and stressed that WANEP was convinced that more than ever before, Ghanaians must be working towards the prevention of the escalation of violence and destruction rather than reacting to outbreaks of such violence.
These were contained in a press release made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Thursday and signed by Mr. Justine Bayor, National Network Coordinator of the WANEP-Ghana.
The statement called for a concerted effort to ensure peace especially as the electioneering contentions and grievances with the management and distribution of state resources gave rise to discontent, thus bringing the sub-region closer to violence, and demanded efforts to ensure an end to such situations.
It stated that in the light of the sustenance of the African Union ‘Make Peace Happen Campaign (MPHC)’ which was launched in 2010, as well as the designation of 2012 as the AU decade of operation, WANEP-Ghana, in conjunction with the whole of the WANEP family joined the African community of Civil Society Organizations, the African Union and ECOWAS to advocate and appeal for Peace and justice in Ghana, West Africa and Africa at large.
WANEP said preventing violent conflicts required addressing underlying issues and conditions that created the grounds for such violence to fester, and that urgent actions were required to minimize mistrust and build confidence towards the electoral processes, participatory democracy and management of state resources.
The statement observed that beyond the numerous appeals for peace and various peace campaigns, was the need to restore public confidence that the pursuance of justice shall be firm and fair to all with professionalism and impartiality to give the public an unbiased mind.
“On this International Day of Peace, WANEP also re-echoes and fully shares in the message of the African Union – Make Peace Happen and the commitment of our leaders when they declared ‘We are determined to deal once and for all with the scourge of conflict and violence on our continent acknowledging our shortcomings and errors, committing our resources and our best people and missing no opportunity to push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction. We, as leaders, simply cannot bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans’ “, the statement added.
WANEP therefore called on all citizens of the sub-region who expressed their grievances through acts of violence, extremism in the form of religious fanaticism, ideological orientation, secessionist bid, among others, to embrace dialogue and joint problem solving as a means of articulating their concerns and ensuring the stability of the state.
“Those involved in all acts of ethnic, chieftaincy, land, communal and other forms of intra-state conflicts should ceasefire and bring their concerns to a negotiation table and urge the concern states to provide the environment that will ensure such pondering and meditative actions”, the statement said.
It called on all security agencies to be vigilant in monitoring the country’s borders to deter, arrest and retrieve illegal arms in the hands of civilian populations, and particularly commended the Ghana Police authorities for planning to hold inter-party peace marches throughout the country on this day.