Every year since 2005, the world has celebrated International Human Solidarity Day on December 20 after the United Nations General Assembly identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between people in the 21st century.
The day was set aside to celebrate unity in diversity, remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements, raise public awareness on the importance of solidarity, encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including poverty eradication and as a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.
What the United Nations intends for governments to do on this day is to remember their commitments to international agreements and the need to see unity as a medium for fostering a healthy environment in their individual countries and the world as a whole. On the other hand, citizens are encouraged to, on that day, or some days preceding the set date, debate on ways to promote solidarity and find innovative methods to help eradicate poverty.
Citizens and governments of member states of the United Nations are expected to organise and participate in activities which drive the success of programmes designed to address issues bordering on such global topics like banning the use of land mines, making health and medication accessible to those in need, where such is not already in place, especially in developing countries; increasing efforts to help relieve those who have suffered the effects of natural or man-made disasters, as well as achieving universal education and fighting against corruption and terrorism. And since the day is also a day to remember the needs of those regarded as the down trodden of society, people are encouraged to reach out to such groups of people around them.
Another of the principles is that every child deserves to be educated regardless of gender, and governments must ensure that children of school age are in school when they should be. Hindrances like school age children having to contribute to the up-keep of the family in countries where child labour is prevalent should be removed from their path.
This year, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Division for Inclusive Social Development (UNDESA DISD) began celebrating the International Human Solidarity Day since December 8 with the launch of the theme, ‘What does Solidarity mean to you?’
The campaign, which came to a close two days ago, invited people to share messages, photos, drawings or video using the hashtag #SolidarityDay or #2getherwith, on social media to promote the cause which they support. The best of all the messages would then be selected and showcased on the portal of the United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN) and all other social media platforms.
For us as a media organisation and as Nigerians, we believe in the vision of this day. There is no global day celebration that suits our country more than one that encourages us to find ways of living together in peace as a people, and working for the progress of our country. For a country that is sharply divided along ethno-religious lines, the values which the day promotes cannot be more germane to the persistent calls by various statesmen and even foreigners that Nigeria should use its rich diversity in a positive way in which the various groups complement one another rather that view one another as enemies that should be uprooted or destroyed.
Also, considering the new statistics which put Nigeria at the top of the poverty table globally, such a day like this provides an opportunity for the leaders and the followers brainstorm on ways to fight poverty and reduce the scourge of penury that is ravaging a big swathe of the country’s large population.
As a newspaper, we wish to remind Nigerians about the necessity to be united in the bid to produce the change agents who can bring about the change we desire in our country by participating actively in the ongoing electoral process and voting in persons based on the capacity and credibility in the coming elections rather on the sentiment tribe, religion, party affiliation and personal gain.
Most importantly, even though we are diverse peoples, as a country we have to show solidarity in the efforts to overcome the ills that set our unity on edge.
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