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Monday, January 18, 2010

A Review of 2009, OHCHR Expert Workshop on the Right of Peoples to Peace,

OHCHR's Expert Meeting on the Right of Peoples to Peace took place 15-16 December. This workshop on right to peace was formed at the request of Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/11/4, entitled ˝Promotion of the rights of peoples to peace ̏. The Resolution requested that OHCHR convene a workshop before February 2010 with the participation of experts from regions of the world in order further clarify the content and scope of this right; propose measures that raise awareness of the importance of realizing this right; and suggest concrete actions to mobilize States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in the promotion of the right of peoples to peace.

Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the meeting, stressing the intricate linkage between peace and human rights. ˝Respect for human rights is the foundation of freedom, peace and justice in the world. Peoples of our planet have the right to peace."

Various distinguished individuals spoke on the panels, whose topics ranged from the ‘different dimensions of the right of people to peace' to ‘measure and actions to raise awareness and to promote the right of peoples to peace'. On the ‘Different dimensions of the right of peoples to peace', Ms. Vera Gowlland, Honorary Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 1999 General Assembly resolution on the culture of peace; however, the value of these assertions depends on the subsequent practices of states of the international community. The International Court of Justice has also given great weight to these resolutions. That said, the right to peace is not clear in and of itself, although certain elements are being clarified in certain pronouncements. asserted that in recent years there has been a proliferation of a soft instrument proclaiming the right to peace. In 1984, a General Assembly declaration pronounced that peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace.

Mr. Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade, Judge, International Court of Justice, opened the second day of the meeting, proclaiming that, although it remains an invincible idea, the right to peace as an ideal that has not yet been achieved. ˝The 1984 Declaration on the rights of peoples to peace has not yet delivered a significant projection. ̏ That said, the right to peace is deeply rooted in human consciousness. ˝The time has come to codify peace. But, how? We do not live in a rational world. The right to peace has not had the same effect as the right to development. ̏

Continuing on the ‘Right of peoples from a human rights perspective', Mr. William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, stressed the fragility of the debate on the right to peace. ˝Some question if this is the right place to discuss the right to peace. ̏ For instance, at the Human Rights Council, there were those who voted against adopting resolution 11/4 on the right of peoples to peace. ˝The right to peace is undervalued and does not yet have a proper place. This, however, does not mean that it is absent, but that it is underdeveloped. ̏

The Expert Workshop on the Right of Peoples to Peace closed successfully, and the outcome will be presented at the 14th Session of the Human Rights Council in June 2010.


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