Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on a Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace

UNITED NATIONS, 4 Feb 2013

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – TRANSCEND Media Service

Civil Society Section

First Session (18-21 February 2013)

Informal discussion on 7 February 2013 at 10.00, Room XII, PdN

Dear All,

Reference is made to the Note Verbale dated 17 January 2013, concerning the establishment of an Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group with the mandate of progressively negotiating a draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace.

In this connection, the Chairperson-designate wishes to invite the civil society to an informal discussion on 7 February 2013, at 10h00, in Room XII, Palais des Nations.

Information relevant to the session, including the provisional agenda, can be found at: http://goo.gl/0lJBX

 

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5 Responses to “Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on a Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace”

  1. satoshi says:

    For your information:

    http://blog.unwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/UN-Declaration-on-the-Right-to-Peace1.pdf

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/AdvisoryCommittee/Pages/RightToPeace.aspx

    To declare the right to peace can be less difficult. To achieve it is extremely difficult. One of the difficult aspects of the right to peace is how to achieve it. The nature of the right to peace is significantly different from that of the civil and political rights (mostly stipulated in UDHR and in ICCPR) and from that of economic, social and cultural rights (mostly stipulated in UDHR and in ICESCR). All these rights can be manifested only by a State. In other words, that is a matter of the domestic policy of the State. However, the right to peace is not only a matter of the domestic policy but also a matter of the international relation. The right to peace cannot be achieved without the cooperation of all States and of all relevant actors (such as belligerent powers/organizations, guerrilla groups and more) in the world. Look at the world today. What do you think of it? However, it is not very wise to be pessimistic. Simply face the reality of the world. That is the first step toward the achievement of the right to peace. Without the first step, no further steps will exist.

    Another consideration: If it is interpreted that the word “peace” in the right to “peace” is to include not only “negative peace” but also “positive peace”, the issue on achieving the right to peace may be far more complicated. If that is the case, the right to peace is to encompass virtually all kinds of human rights.

    The path toward the achievement of the right to peace looks an almost infinitely long and winding road. It is one thing for peace-loving people in the world to know that it is possible to achieve the right to peace. However, it is another for them to face the reality of the path toward the achievement of the right to peace. We, humans on this planet, must tread this extremely difficult path if we really aspire for the achievement of the right to peace.

    For your reference, let me paste the previous declaration on the right to peace of 1984:

    Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace

    Approved by General Assembly resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984

    The General Assembly ,

    Reaffirming that the principal aim of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security,
    Bearing in mind the fundamental principles of international law set forth in the Charter of the United Nations,

    Expressing the will and the aspirations of all peoples to eradicate war from the life of mankind and, above all, to avert a world-wide nuclear catastrophe,

    Convinced that life without war serves as the primary international prerequisite for the material well-being, development and progress of countries, and for the full implementation of the rights and fundamental human freedoms proclaimed by the United Nations,

    Aware that in the nuclear age the establishment of a lasting peace on Earth represents the primary condition for the preservation of human civilization and the survival of mankind,

    Recognizing that the maintenance of a peaceful life for peoples is the sacred duty of each State,

    1. Solemnly proclaims that the peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace;

    2. Solemnly declares that the preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State;

    3. Emphasizes that ensuring the exercise of the right of peoples to peace demands that the policies of States be directed towards the elimination of the threat of war, particularly nuclear war, the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations;

    4. Appeals to all States and international organizations to do their utmost to assist in implementing the right of peoples to peace through the adoption of appropriate measures at both the national and the international level.

    • Dear Satoshi, thanks for your comment and info. My question is then: If the UN already has a Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, why do they need a new one? Not logical…
      antonio

      • satoshi says:

        The answer to your question may be hidden in the “A/HRC/20/L16”. http://blog.unwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/UN-Declaration-on-the-Right-to-Peace1.pdf

        It (A/HRC/20/L16) says, “Recalling also General Assembly resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984 entitled “Declaration of the Right of Peoples to Peace” and the United Nations Millennium Declaration…”. Therefore, the UN is fully aware of the question that Antonio raised.

        The answer to Antonio’s question may be here as follows:

        There are two main reasons for that:

        First: Participation not only of Member States but also of civil society and all relevant stakeholders to work for the achievement of the right to peace:
        (1) It (A/HRC/20/L16) says, “Welcoming the important work being carried out by civil society organizations for the promotion of the right to peace and their contribution to the codification of that right…”
        (2) It (A/HRC/20/L16) also says, “5. Invites Member States, civil society and all relevant stakeholders to contribute actively and constructively to the work of the working group;”

        I also wrote in my comment, “The right to peace cannot be achieved without the cooperation of all States and of all relevant actors in the world.” Now, the UN has become aware of it, at last.

        Second: Following up the progress of the work for achieving the right to peace:
        It (A/HRC/20/L16) says, “6. Requests the working group to submit a report on progress made to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its twenty-third session.” The previous declaration in 1984 was a literally declaration and no following up for the progress was done. A declaration without following up work does not produce the intended result effectively.

        Summary/Conclusions: Above all, it is deemed that the new declaration this time is based on the ineffective (or unproductive) result of the 1984 declaration. The 1984 declaration was prepared during the Cold War Era and was mostly backed by the Third World countries such as the Group of 77. Time has changed since then. The UN is now fully aware that the achievement of the right to peace requires all Member States, civil society and all relevant stakeholders. In addition, now the UN also understands that the following up work for it is also necessary.

  2. Antonino Drago says:

    Why not define right to peace as the right to achieve peace by peaceful means? It would include conscientiuous objectors wanting to contribute to an alternative defence, the right to build a nonviolent national defense (at present confused with the armed insurgence), an the nonvilent interposition in areas of crisis (at present made possible by the tourist visa only).

  3. satoshi says:

    “Following up the progress of the declaration on the right to peace? And then what?” Someone has asked me about the ultimate goal of the following up work.

    The following up work of UDHR produced fruits — ICCPR and ICESCR. As such, it may be expected that the following up work of the declaration on the right to peace will produce an international treaty on the right to peace and, perhaps, a relevant system(s) that is to work with that treaty, including a system to work in cooperation with civil society and other relevant stakeholders. Remember that the 1949 Geneva Conventions are to work with ICRC. At this moment, no one can tell exactly what fruit(s) the following up work will produce. However, it is obvious that the UN is intending to produce any of such fruit(s) by using this opportunity for the declaration on the right to peace. But it takes time. It took some two decades from UDHR to produce ICCPR and ICESCR. It might take more decades that the declaration on the right to peace this time will bring about any substantial fruit(s) — an international treaty on the right to peace and other relevant outcome(s). (By the way, why not TRANSCEND join this following up work?)

    My concern is, although it might be too early to tell, that whether major countries in the world will join the fruit(s) of the above mentioned following up work. For instance, China, Russia, the United States (and Israel) are not State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC. (Among five Permanent Members of the UNSC, three of them are not State Parties to the Rome Statute.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_Parties_to_the_Rome_Statute_of_the_International_Criminal_Court No international peace system is very effective if major powerful countries do not join it.

    As to the definition of the right to peace, I agree with Prof. Antonino Drago. If the right to peace is achieved by violent/illegitimate/non-peaceful means, it produces a contradiction to the right to “peace”. History proves that, in many cases, peace was achieved by violent/illegitimate/non-peaceful means and that peace achieved by violent/illegitimate/non-peaceful means did not last long.