19 September 2003

Giant Peace Doves at VIC Plaza

Starmania Singer Niddl, NGOs Vier Pfoten and Global 2000 to Celebrate International Peace Day at the United Nations Office at Vienna

VIENNA, 19 September (UN Information Service)  -- The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) will wear a different look this evening, as it celebrates the International Day of Peace.  Austrian NGOs Vier Pfoten and Global 2000 will present their "peace doves" to UNOV at the Plaza of the Vienna International Centre. They join a special global campaign, initiated by UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, which is encouraging young people all over the world to construct Giant Peace Doves of cotton and to let them "fly" as symbols of the global yearning for peace. Austria's Starmania singer Niddl as well as the children's choir "EuRoots" are slated to perform at the ceremony, which will end with the ringing of the UN Peace Bell and the lighting of candles.

Sunday, 21 September, the International Day of Peace is observed as a day of non-violence and global cease-fire.

This date is an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the day. Arms should be laid down this day for good reasons: to provide humanitarian help more easily, to save civilians from areas of conflict and to build shelters without the fear of immediate destruction.

The UN will be commemorating the day in a series of events worldwide. At the UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will deliver a message of peace to the world and ring the Japanese Peace Bell. Five prominent personalities appointed by the Secretary-General as United Nations Messengers of Peace -- Muhammad Ali, Anna Cataldi, Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall and Elie Wiesel -- will participate in the event.

Already, almost 40 of these spectacular doves have taken part in peace demonstrations across the USA. Doves have also taken flight in Ecuador and in Indonesia. This Sunday, thousands of them will fly on the streets, over the sea, on mountains and in cities worldwide. Sherpas will even carry a Giant Peace Dove up to Mount Everest.

In his message, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, says: "On the International Day of Peace, let us use these 24 hours -- this brief period of what we hope will be relative quiet -- to begin a peaceful dialogue, one that should continue in the General Assembly, to promote a global consensus on the dominant threats to peace and security in our time -- and most of all, what to do about them."

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