International Day of Non-Violence

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It is referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti. Gandhi was the preeminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. His life was dedicated to resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience and non-violence.

In 2004, Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi took a proposal for an International Day of Non-Violence to the World Social Forum in Mumbai. The idea gradually attracted the interest among India’s leaders. In 2007 President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, and South African human rights activist, Desmond Tutu, called upon the United Nations to adopt the idea.

On 15 June 2007 the UN voted to establish 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence. The resolution by the General Assembly asks all members of the UN system to commemorate 2 October in “an appropriate manner and disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.”

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