International Solidarity Days – November 2019
November 10—World Science Day for Peace and Development
The purpose of the World Science Day for Peace and Development is to remember the contributions made by science to peace and sustainable development around the world. This day reminds us how essential scientific research and implementation are to humankind’s ability to successfully meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN in September 2015. Unfortunately, science can and often has been used to promote violence and war on an ever more devastating scale in the past 100 years. This day is a time to urge nations and governments to implement scientific advances for the preservation of the environment through sustainable agriculture, development of clean and renewable energy sources, protection for and efficient use of fresh water sources, and equitable production and distribution of food globally, especially to those most in need. International sharing of emerging technologies is an essential component of international peace and cooperation.
We pray for researchers and scientific developers, that their efforts be directed to serving the common good. May we willingly share new discoveries, for the good of the environment, for the good of all humanity and for international peace and cooperation. We pray for a sustainable future for all of us as we journey into the future with hope.
November 20—Universal Children’s Day
Universal Children’s Day was established as a day to celebrate childhood and to discuss and address issues important to the well-being of children. On November 20, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration Of the Rights Of the Child, a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The UN recently reported that there are about 2 million children trafficked worldwide. It also reported that globally one in ten children are subject to child labor. At least 51% of today’s nearly 60 million refugees are children. Of the estimated 800 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, over half are children. Access to education in many countries is still inaccessible to rural and poor children. Domestic violence, as well as the violence of war, robs millions of children of their childhood and subjects them to fear, insecurity and loss of hope. On Universal Children’s Day let us work to protect the rights of children. Let us recognize the human rights and dignity of all children and act on their behalf to make life safer, so that each child can reach his/her full potential.
Let us pray for the children of the world, that they be protected from physical and psychological trauma, provided with safety, food and shelter, offered affirmation and love, and lifted from grief and despair to joy and hope. God, bless each child on earth with the knowledge that they are loved so that they can grow and develop fully and extend that love to others.
November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
This day seeks to raise awareness about violence against women and to actively work to end such violence. Much of this violence stems from cultural norms that often view women as inferior human beings. It is estimated that violence against women affects one of every three women at some point in her lifetime. Because it is often hidden, violence against women, as a human rights violation, needs to be brought into the light of day in order to be condemned and eliminated. The ultimate goal of this day is to end violence against women and achieve gender equality through the empowerment of women. We urge all of us to wear orange on that day to call attention to the global effort to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
Holy One, we ask you to strengthen and comfort all women who suffer from sexual, psychological or physical violence. Make us all aware of these, our sisters, so that we will not be silent nor turn a deaf ear to their suffering. May we join with one another in speaking and working for justice and gender equality. Help us to educate men and boys to respect, love and cherish their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and all women as equals in caring for one another and our planet. May each of us commit ourselves to creating a just world where each life is sacred and where every person proclaims that “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.”
November 29—International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
This date of November 29th was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. This resolution called for the partitioning of Palestine into two states—Israel and Palestine. So far, only the state of Israel exists. The people in the Palestinian territories have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967, and Israel continues to build settlements in the Palestinian territories. The International Day of Solidarity has traditionally provided an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly. These rights include the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced. The UN continues its commitment to bring about a just peace in the region that protects and acknowledges the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let us pray for the Palestinian people who long for self-determination and freedom. May Palestinians and Israelis meet and work together to build understanding and trust, after many decades of distrust and violence. May they seek to understand one another’s needs and build bridges of understanding rather than walls of separation. God, inspire all nations to promote dialogue and respect as the basis for peace.