My name is Jalal* and I live in north-west Pakistan. It is known as a hotbed of militancy and extremism, where militants run the streets and bombs destroy lives. When the Taliban began taking over our area, I didn’t know what to do. One by one, I lost most of my friends to the Taliban. They were used to carry out suicide attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan and Waziristan, just across the border from Pakistan.
If one thing is clear, it is that stories have power when it comes to peacebuilding. So often in war, people are silenced. Whether it is through fear, or the breakdown of infrastructure, people’s voices often cannot be heard from war zones. These stories from our annual event celebrating local peacebuilding took us on a journey. We felt the anguish of war, and the hope brought by peace.
Today is Human Rights Day, commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The day provides a chance to recall the aspiration to a universal human dignity set out in this document, to face up to contexts where this aspiration is being torn apart and, more than just to feel outrage, to take action.
The shortlist for Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders, our annual awards that celebrate the world’s most innovative locally-led peacebuilders, has been finalised – leaving 13 of the 244 applicants to pass through to the next stage of the competition. Three winners will be announced at a ceremony in December and will each receive $10,000 towards their project.