The iconic Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro hosted a world solidarity event to mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Syria on 15 March 2017. Refugee children and some of Brazil’s most famous artists joined hands in an Act for Peace promoted by IKMR (I Know My Rights), the “Love Without Borders” movement, led by actress and TV presenter Danni Suzuki, and Father Omar, rector of the Christ the Redeemer.
Participants in the event included the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative in Brasilia, Ms. Isabel Marquez; the National Secretary of Justice and President of the National Committee for Refugees, Mr. Gustavo Marrone; the UNDP RIO+ Centre; and the UN Information Centre (UNIC-Rio).
From the top of the splendid Corcovado mountain, singers Elba Ramalho, Maria Gadú, Maria Luiza and Tiago Iorc, who are part of the “Love without Borders” movement, joined the Children’s Choir composed of 50 refugee children living in Brazil, from 12 different countries – including Syria, Yemen, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
In the month that marks the sixth year of the devastaging war in Syria, refugee and brazilian children and artists called for world peace, singing together with Maria Gadú the famous “Aquarela do Brasil” song, considered an informal “national anthem”, composed by Ary Barroso in the 1930’s.
The Act for Peace also counted with renowned artists and TV stars, such as Cássia Kis, Malu Mader, Bruna Marquezine, Murilo Rosa, Paloma Bernardi, Priscila Fantin, Flávia Alessandra, Débora Nascimento and José Loreto, Mariana Ximenes, Cássio Reis, Juliana Knust and Isabela Garcia, among others.
On the same day, the United Nations staff associations released a global statement for the people of Syria and gathered in an Act for Peace in New York City, at the symbolical “Knotted Gun” sculpture at the UN Headquarters.
Read the UN Staff Statement for the People of Syria:
We, the staff of the United Nations wish to express our profound concern and outrage over the suffering of the people and especially the children of Syria.
The crucible of war continues to hold the people, and especially the children of Syria, hostage. For six years, Syrians have experienced appalling violence and flagrant disregard for human life. For six years, the world has watched in horror. Human decency and conscience demands that we end the carnage now.
The United Nations was founded on principles of human rights and respect for humanitarian values. It is our duty as individuals and as a collective to uphold these principles. We therefore stand in solidarity with the civilians and particularly the children who are suffering from abuses, indignity and destruction caused by ongoing violations of international norms. We stand united in solidarity with the people and especially the children of Syria.
We call upon the Member States of the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, to take urgent action to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Please add your name and organization to join this statement to show a commitment to these values and call to action.
Stand in solidarity with the people of Syria and join us on 15 March 2017 in front of the silenced gun.
Signed by UN Staff bodies representing UNDP, UNOPS, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, UNV, UNICEF, UNESCO, Field Service Staff (FSU), UN Secretariat (Staff Union).
Photo credits: AI_HikesAZ, Flickr. “Non-Violence” (a.k.a. “The Knotted Gun”) sculpture at the UN Headquarters by Fredrik Reuterswärd. This sculpture was a gift from the Government of Luxembourg to the United Nations.