‘Please, Mr President, we want peace!’ say thousands of school children

School children across South Africa have joined hands with the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) in a letter-writing campaign calling for heads of state to back the establishment of a legal framework that promotes principles that guarantee world peace.

The goal is to have the framework, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War, supported at the United Nations general assembly. The DPCW was drafted by 21 international law experts and contains 10 articles and 38 clauses, including the prohibition of the use of force, the initiation and maintenance of friendly relations, dispute settlement and spreading a culture of peace.

Recently South Africans saw how a single letter written by a child was able to move the heart of a president. When Daisy Ngedla from East London, in the nation’s Eastern Cape, sought answers from President Cyril Ramaphosa her earnestness persuaded him to respond, with him explaining to her that she could also be president one day. He also visited her school on a trip to the city.

Similarly, IPYG is mobilising young people throughout the world to raise their voices and sway their presidents to respond to the call for world peace.

In 2018 about one million citizens from 176 countries wrote peace letters to their presidents. From that group, youth from 23 countries delivered the hand-written letters to nine former and current presidents and prime ministers from eight countries. In 2019 the goal is to deliver peace letters to the presidents of 193 countries.

South Africa is counted among these nations, with elementary school children and adults writing letters to the president. They are requesting his support and on him to advocate for the necessity of the DPCW.

On the 14th of March 2019 the peace letters gathered from various parts of society will be delivered to heads of states again. IPYG believes that to make world peace a reality every individual across the globe must advocate for peace.

The spirit of the campaign is based on the values written in the DPCW, which was proclaimed on the 14th of March 2016. The Seychelles, Comoros Islands, the Kingdom of eSwatini and political institutions such as the Central American Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament, under the African Union, have supported the declaration.

On the 16th of March 2019, IPYG will host the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the Proclamation of the DPCW at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, South Africa. The topic for the event is “The Role of Women and the Youth for Strengthening Peace building in South Africa”. Participants from across the city will join the Peace Letter Campaign at this event. Their letters will be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa.