The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Non-Violence is a global observance that promotes non-violence through education and public awareness. It is annually held on October 2 to coincide with renowned Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
What Do People Do?
Many people, governments, and non-government organizations around the world observe the International Day of Non-Violence through various events and activities such as:
- News articles and broadcast announcements promoting the day.
- Public lectures, seminars, discussions, and press conferences about non-violence.
- Photo exhibitions highlighting issues, such as the dangers of the illicit trade of small arms.
- Street awareness campaigns.
- Light ceremonies promoting non-violence and peace.
- Multi-faith prayer meetings.
The International Day of Non-Violence has strong connections with the works, beliefs, and methods of peace leader Mahatma Gandhi, who is known as India’s “Father of the Nation”.
The International Day of Non-Violence is a global observance but it is not a public holiday.
The principle of non-violence, also known as non-violent resistance, rejects the use of physical violence to achieve social or political change. Many groups throughout the world use this method in social justice campaigns. There are three main categories of non-violence action:
- Protest and persuasion, including marches and vigils.
- Non-violent intervention, such as blockades and occupations.
The UN recognizes a philosophical connection between the human rights principles in its universal declaration and those that Mahatma Gandhi used. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869. He is remembered today for his contributions towards India’s freedom and for sharing with the world a doctrine for dealing with injustice and disharmony. He taught people the philosophy of Ahimsa, which encourages the use of non-violence as a tool for the peaceful resolution of differences. India gained its freedom on August 15, 1947, through Gandhi’s efforts. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
The UN General Assembly came up with a resolution in 2007 to establish the International Day of Non-Violence. The day aimed to spread the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness, around the world. The resolution reflected universal respect for Gandhi and his philosophy. October 2, which is Gandhi’s birthday, was allocated as the day’s date. The first International Day of Non-Violence was on October 2, 2007.
The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map depicts the area of concern to the UN in achieving its main purpose, peace and security. The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.
International Day of Non-Violence Observances
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