The African Union (AU) has said special attention would be given to the issue of women and children in armed conflicts in Africa this year.
The International Peace Day was marked Friday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bringing together representatives from AU member states, regional and international organizations as well as civil society organizations,
Through his representative Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for peace and security Jean Ping, the outgoing chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC), said women and children bear the heaviest burden of conflicts and endure the bitter pain and suffering that war brings.
"This year, we will be giving special attention to the issue of women and children in armed conflicts in Africa," he said.
Ping stated that a successful Peace Day would create hope for a better future for the entire continent.
"Indeed, the activities of a single day can energize Africans from all walks of life, helping to generate a widespread grassroots peace movement across the continent. And that up-swelling of demand for peace, and actions to make peace happen, may indeed help fulfill our common promise of a conflict-free Africa."
Despite the trials and tribulations that Africa has suffered over the years, its spirit has not been jaded and its optimism has not faded away, said the chairperson.
"Ours is not blind optimism, far from it. We understand Africa and its problems, and we know the potential our continent holds," he said.
He also called on Africans to make renewed efforts towards the achievement of the AU' s vision of "an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena".
On the occasion, AU officially announced the launch of the website for its Peace and Security Council.