Safeguarding Peace and Human Rights with Love
World Mental Health Day is observed on October tenth every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, in his messages for 2014 World Mental Health Day, said “World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the challenges faced by people with severe mental health problems and what can be done to make their lives better.”
According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), around 450 million people suffer from mental illness and many more have mental problems of some sort. Domestic conflicts, wars, diseases, poverties and outdated concepts have become the cause and effect of unhappiness and poor health for modern people. The vicious cycle of human activities and the degradation of the natural environment have threatened the right to life for the children and youth. Protection of collective health and human rights is a long way off.
The equal rights to live and the rights to life, freedom, happiness, and property are people’s natural rights. Nevertheless, in our world, human actions frequently deprive the natural rights of others. Restoration of these rights often requires education, awakening, and struggle. That is the reason why we gather here today. Through the event organizer’s continuous efforts and contributions over the years, we are here to consolidate the consensus from chief justices, judges, and other visionary leaders from across the globe; to exchange ideas, and to work together for the rights of our future generations.
Law is the last line of defense for the protection of human rights. The purpose of legislation is to uphold fairness, equality, and justice in society through commonly agreed-upon rules. Beyond equipping themselves with professionalism and legal knowledge, law enforcement officers need to have the heart and capacity to tell right from wrong and be kind to all people and creatures. All of you here are the elites of the legal profession and have rich practical experiences; your understanding of the law is far better than the general public. The law has to conform to reason when being implemented. If each law enforcement officer can remember that every decision they make will deeply impact other individuals and families or even the entire society and therefore should comply with the principle of human rights protection, then they will be more cautious. How can they remain unbiased and fair? That requires excellent wisdom, great courage, and conscience-driven actions.
Education is a long-term process to cultivate people. It is also an endeavor of conscience. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, said, “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” Where does change come from? Change start from the heart. Children’s pure hearts, with their direct reactions, boundless creativity, and powerful imagination are their greatest assets. Through proper guidance, their potential from within can be unlocked, which is the highest ideal of education. More importantly, we should teach children to listen to the calling of the conscience from within. The power of knowledge can be used for evil or good purposes. Only with unselfish kindness can one’s potential be fully utilized.
The speed of the changes in today’s world was unimaginable in the past. Each nation of the world is closely connected with others, and no one can escape the impacts that span the entire Earth. In this global village, people share a collective destiny; conducting oneself virtuously cannot guarantee one a peaceful and secure life. Only through cooperation with and coordination from various fields, exchange of experiences, and sharing of resources can we truly safeguard peace for all humanity. The understanding and practice of the concept that all human beings share a common destiny reflects “The Age of Great Harmony” depicted by Confucius: “While hating to see wealth lying about on the ground, people do not necessarily keep it for their own use. While hating not to exert their own effort, people do not necessarily devote it for their own ends.”
Cooperation and exchanges between generations have become even more crucial than before. People from the older generation are encouraged to generously share their wisdom and experiences with the younger generation. People from the younger generation are urged to share their vitality, enthusiasm, and creativity with the older generation. Showing mutual respect and learning from each other not only embodies the true meaning of passing on the torch but also generates more powerful positive energies than working alone and create more happiness for each other. I believe this is also the common goal and wish of each of us.
For global sustainability, for a world of love and peace, and for the rights of future generations to health; every step taken leaves an imprint in history. We cannot afford any delays or halt. In the face of the current environment and challenges, peace is no longer our common aspiration but our shared responsibility. Every individual who wishes to do something good for the world is an angel of conscience safeguarding peace. The love and kindness in the heart gives us the most powerful wings. Courage and action are the most potent tools. When the forces of goodness are connected and the kindhearted people are united, the magical power of love can turn the world around for the better and bring genuine lasting peace.
* Presented in the 16th International Conference of Chief Justices of the World Lucknow, India