Press Release: International Peace Day 2021

Ring the Bells and Call for Peace, Religious Freedom and Heritage

21 September, 2021

Office of RTCYPP under the  Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden

To mark International Peace Day on 21 September 2021, Office of RTCYPP in Nicosia joined Europa Nostra in Venice to Ring the Bells & Call for Peace & Religious Heritage .

This symbolic initiative hopes to raise the alarm for endangered cultural and religious heritage, highlighting, the important relationship between conflict transformation, peace building and the safeguarding of religious heritage.  It is a wake-up call for the urgency to find a sustainable future for our endangered religious heritage.

The International Day of Peace was established 40 years ago by the General Assembly of the United Nations to encourage non-violence and ceasefire across the world. The 2021 theme of the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”.  Additionally, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of 21 September as International Peace Day.

Religious heritage sites make up a large number of endangered heritages, they are also threatened as targets during conflict, often very difficult to protect and maintain during post conflict.  They are destroyed, demolished, desecrated never allowing the wounds of war to heal.

The vulnerability of religious heritage sites in conflict and post conflict situations and its significance in the transformation of conflict, peace making and peace building has become increasingly apparent, highlighting the need to intensify the urgency to ensure that our shared heritage is protected from these devastating effects.

Since 2010, the RTCYPP is calling on everyone to respect the Christian and Muslim religious heritage of Cyprus and recognize that this plays a key role in the peacebuilding process, fostering a climate of dialogue, understanding and mutual trust.  RTCYPP advocates for the fundamental right to religious freedom or belief and for the right of the faith communities to have free access to administer their places of worship and protect their religious heritage.  The important role that cultural and religious heritage plays in the process of peace-making was recently also recognized and highlighted by the European Council. Through this symbolic initiative and with the support and cooperation of organizations like Europa Nostra, RTCYPP aims to highlight the significance of religious heritage to peace building and the right to religious freedom in the process of enforcing it.

International Peace Day 2021 – Ringing the Bells, Calling for Peace, Religious Freedom and Heritage

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