A pledge to end all forms of violence and set in motion a grassroots civil society campaign to promote peace was launched recently by a coalition of community activists, artists, victims of war, academics, business leaders and African youth.
Spokesperson for the coalition and a peace campaigner, Emmanuel Jal, said: “We are losing the battle to end hostilities. Ours is a call to action. We have come together from different backgrounds and different nations to create a positive, global awakening, responding to the AU’s call for pledges for peace. We need every African citizen galvanised to make peace a reality and to rid the continent of war and civil unrest. Peace is you.”
The centrepiece of the coalition’s appeal was a short animation endorsed by the African Union Commission called ‘My Pledge for Peace’, narrated by Nigerian actor Folu Storms, Niniola, Zoë Modiga and Emmanuel Jal, inviting all Africans to show their commitment to peace with a hand gesture and a pledge (#MyPledgeforPeace).
The launch coincides with the conclusion of the African Union heads of state summit this weekend to review progress towards “Silencing the Guns by 2020: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
Terrorism, conflict and crisis have proliferated in 2020, despite calls from AU and UN leaders for a global ceasefire. The combined effects have been devastating for the most vulnerable, including refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and migrants, as well as youth, women, children and the elderly.
Storms said “There are many complex and interdependent challenges to achieving peace, but every conflict resolution starts with a conversation. And today we are having that conversation and galvanising citizens to make a commitment to actualising the AU’s vision of a conflict-free continent.”