Peace: right for every peoples

The Declaration of the Human Right to Peace is an important step for the promotion of social justice

Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI, addressing not only to Catholics but to "all peoples", proclaimed: "... Peace is the only real line of human progress, not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor violent conquests, nor repressions that bring false civil order.. "(message of Paul VI 1968).

The January 1, 2017 even Pope Francis, in his speech to the 50th World Day of Peace, reaffirmed this principles recalling how "to be true disciples of Jesus today means also adhere to its proposal for nonviolence. (...) "The love of one's enemy constitutes the nucleus of the 'Christian revolution' (and) it is not 'in succumbing to evil (...) but in responding to evil with good, breaking in this way the chain of injustice."

It is plain for all that our world is going in the opposite direction. In recent years - to still use the words of Pope Francis - we are witnessing a world war in pieces that spares no one. The world and all of humanity has therefore today more than ever a profound need for peace.

And not only of peace as the absence of war (even if this would help a lot) but also of the culture of peace, conflict mediation, the promotion of social justice as a condition for a free and full development and as the soil in which all human rights can be fully respected and valued.

At the end of 2016 it was made a small step forward in this direction.

Friday, November 18, 2016 in New York at 10.50 (16.50 in the Italian) during a meeting of the Third Committee of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (video at minute 32:00) the Declaration on Human right to Peace was approved (A/C.3/71/L.29).

The text had already been negotiated in the Council of Human Rights in Geneva (A/HRC/RES/32/28 - A/HRC/32/L.18) and also in Geneva was passed with some votes against especially the Western countries that do not recognize the existence of international law at Pace disputing that there is a single international definition of the concept of peace.

Also in New York was not possible to find consensus among all 193 General Assembly States and vote requested by the US in the third meeting of the Committee has seen 116 States voting in favor, 34 States voted against and 19 countries absteined (including Italy, Greece, Portugal, Poland and the Republic of San Marino) and 24 other countries were absent during the vote.

In the next UN General Assembly meeting in New York held Monday, December 19, 2016 (video at 2:11:00), the new Declaration on the Right to Peace (A/RES/71/189) has been ratified by permanently the favorable vote of 131 countries, 34 against, 19 abstentions in addition to 9 countries absent during the vote (here you can read the text of A/RES/71/189).

Our Geneva office has contributed a lot in the last four years in the work leading to the development of this statement and has always sought to promote a consensual approach and unity among the various organizations of civil society. Before the General Assembly Declaration discussion we have sent together with three other organizations (International Democratic Lawyers, Japanese Committee for the Human Right to Peace, United Network of Young Peacebuilders) an open letter to the ambassadors of the Member State delegations in New York, asking to speak in favor of the new declaration and reiterated that the momentum for peace is the foundation of the entire United Nations system.

This letter has collected many signatures within the world of civil society getting the support and the other 47 co-signing organizations from around the world (read the open letter co-signed).

Now, after years of work and negotiations at the international level we have a new solemn declaration on the Right to Peace (A / RES / 71/189), which is in addition to previous statements: A / RES / 33/73 of 12.15.1978 "Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace ", a / RES / 39/11 of 11.12.1984 "Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace" and the famous "Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace"(a / RES / 53/243, 6.10.1999) UNESCO.

It's up to us, therefore, continue to "fight" because the Universal Right to Peace of every individual and of all peoples, said at an international level, to finally become a reality for the entire world, making "active nonviolence our Life Style "(Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Peace 2017) and commit ourselves to the building of peace in our daily lives.

Fabio Agostoni

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