NEW DELHI: The UN will observe Mahatma Gandhi's birthday as the International Day of Non-Violence every year, it said in a statement yesterday.
The UN called upon all member nations and individuals to commemorate October 2 in "an appropriate manner and to disseminate the message of non-violence."
The resolution was introduced by India.
Gandhi's descendants hailed the move, but said the gesture should not only be symbolic.
"It's welcome but not enough. If they have declared it as non-violence day, they should ensure that it is observed as one among member countries," said the leader's great grandson Tushar Gandhi.
"The conflicts should come to an end and it should be a step towards creating a world without violence."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also welcomed the move in a statement describing it as "a great tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and a proud moment for India."
"I am extremely happy that the United Nations will henceforth observe Gandhi Jayanti, October 2 as International Day of Non-Violence each year, following a unanimous decision by the General Assembly of the United Nations yesterday," Singh said.
"This is a tribute by the world community to the Father of our Nation," the prime minister said.
"The universal relevance of Gandhiji's message of non-violence is more important today than ever before since nations across the world continue to grapple with the threat of conflict, violence and terrorism," he said.
Singh also exhorted the people of India "to re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals and values of Mahatma Gandhi, which shall continue to be our guiding light."
Gandhi was a proponent of non-violent civil disobedience in India's fight against the British colonial rule which ended in 1947.
He was shot dead by a Hindu nationalist in 1948.
© Gulf Times Newspaper, 2007