In a bid to solidify peace and harmony in South Africa, the National Peace Charter marks a significant step towards fostering a more peaceful society. The charter aims to encapsulate the aspirations of the nation for a future built on the pillars of peace and mutual accountability.

The draft South African National Peace Charter was introduced to the public by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA), at the Human Rights Festival hosted at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, drawing attention to the importance of human rights, Women, Peace and Security as well as peace for all in the country.

“Crucially, the Peace Charter comes at a poignant moment in South Africa’s history, as the country commemorates 30 years of democracy. As the nation gears up for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, the need for a framework for peace becomes increasingly evident. The Peace Charter therefore stands as a solemn pledge for citizens to actively contribute to the realization of a more peaceful co-existence,” reiterated Lindiwe Khoza, WPS co-ordinator at the IJR.

“The genesis of the charter can be traced to the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) 2020 – 2025. This comprehensive framework, adopted in August 2020 and officially launched in March 2021, underscores the imperative for a Peace Charter in South Africa,” explained Corlett Letlojane, HURISA’s Executive Director.

With key government and stakeholder input, the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security laid the groundwork for collaborative efforts towards achieving lasting peace in the nation. By actively engaging with the charter, individuals are encouraged to pledge their commitment to making South Africa a more peaceful society.

Activities surrounding the launch of the Peace Charter were integrated into the Human Rights Festival, which took place from 21-24 March 2024 at Constitution Hill. Festival participants and the general public had the opportunity to engage with the charter through various platforms, including a Peace Charter Information Desk, dissemination of pamphlets, and dialogues centered around the theme of WPS, Human Rights, and 30 Years of Democracy.

Participants at the gathering pledged to strive for peace, security, and the preservation of human dignity for all persons in South Africa as per the Peace Charter.

As South Africa navigates the complexities of its democratic journey, the importance of a Peace Charter cannot be overstated. By fostering a collective commitment to peace, this initiative represents a significant stride towards building a more inclusive and harmonious society for generations to come.