Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library

Peace

Other Aspects of Peace

International legal instruments in which other aspects of peace have been included:

Culture of Peace

Right to Life in Peace

Right of Peoples to Peace

Human Right to Peace

Right to Enjoy Peace, Human Rights and Development

Culture of Peace

Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999)

Art. 1 

A culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviour and ways of life based on:

(a) Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation;

(b) Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

(c) Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

 

Background and elaboration

On 10 November 1998, the UNGA adopted resolution 53/25 on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001–2010) [1] by which it proclaimed the period 2001–2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World and invited the Secretary-General to submit a draft programme of action to promote the implementation of the Decade at local, national, regional and international levels, and to coordinate the activities of the Decade.

On 28 April 1999 the Commission encouraged the UNGA to conclude its deliberations on the adoption of a declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace and reiterated its invitation to States to promote a culture of peace based on the purposes and principles established in the UN Charter. It asked OHCHR to prepare a report in 2000, taking into consideration the comments and views of all Governments, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs, on the contribution of the promotion and protection of human rights to the further development of a culture of peace . Finally, on 13 September 1999, the UNGA adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

During the International Year of Culture of Peace proclaimed for 2000 [2|, CHR adopted its resolution 2000/66 by which it requested the OHCHR to organize a panel/forum on a culture of peace, with participation open to Governments, non-governmental organizations and other interested organizations, focusing on the contribution of the promotion, protection and realization of all human rights to the further development of a culture of peace. The Expert Seminar on Human Rights and Peace was held in Geneva on 8 and 9 December 2000.

On 14 September 2012 the President of the Assembly organized the first-ever General Assembly High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace, in which participated a wide-ranging partnership and inclusive collaboration among Member States, international organizations and civil society, as evidenced at the Forum. The last Forum was held on 9 September 2014 at the UNGA.

Resources

Report of the Expert Seminar on Human Rights and Peace prepared by the OHCHR (E/CN.4/2001/120 , 23 January 2001).

UNESCO Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

General Assembly, High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace, 9 September 2014 (Recorded Webcast)

 

[1]  Doc. A/RES/53/25 International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001–2010), 19 November 1998

[2] Doc. A/RES/52/15, Proclamation of the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace, 15 January 1998

Right of Peoples to Peace

Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace (1984)

Preamble and provisions

[...]

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,…

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.


Documentation on the negotiation process of the Declaration

Yearbook of the United Nations 1984, Volume 38 (Online version)

General Assembly Official Records, 39th sess., Plenary meetings, v. 2 (A/39/PV.32-70)

 

Background and elaboration

The Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace was adopted by 92 to none and 34 abstentions (A/39/PV.37). Twenty-nine States were absent from the vote and two countries did not participate, because both of them disagreed with the initiative. This Declaration is principally devoted to the relationship among countries and the condemnation of war, and therefore, it is not linked properly to human rights.


Since 2003 the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted four resolutions [1] entitled “Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all”, which have recognized the importance of respect of the right of peoples to peace.

From 2001 to 2003 the Commission on Human Rights has adopted two resolutions entitled “promotion of the right of peoples to peace”[2]. As a consequence of introducing a more human rights approach to the right of peoples to peace, in 2003 the Commission changed the title of the three following resolutions as follows “Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all”[3]. 

In the last resolution on this topic presented in 2005[4], the Commission on Human Rights calls upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out a constructive dialogue and consultations with Member States, specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations on how the Commission could work for the promotion of an international environment conducive to the full realization of the right of peoples to peace.

Resources

Work of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on the right to peace

 


[1]  A/Res/67/173, 22 March 2013; A/Res/65/222, 21 December 2010; A/Res/60/163, 16 December 2005; A/Res/58/192, 22 December 2003

[2] Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/69, 25 April 2001 and resolution 2002/71, 25 April 2002

[3] Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/61, 24 April 2003; resolution 2004/65, 21 April 2004 and resolution 2005/56,  20 April 2005

[4] Commission on Human Rights, 60th session, Summary record of its 57th meeting (E/CN.4/2004/SR.57)

Right to Life in Peace

Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace (1978)

Art. 1 :

Every nation and every human being, regardless of race, conscience, language or sex, has the inherent right to life in peace. Respect for that right, as well as for the other human rights, is in the common interest of all mankind and an indispensable condition of advancement of all nations, large and small, in all fields.

 

Documentation on the negotiation process of the Declaration

Yearbook of the United Nations 1978, Volume 32 (Online version)

UNGA, 33rd session 1978, Official records, Plenary meetings, Vol. 3

 

Background and elaboration


In 1978 the General Assembly adopted this Declaration by 138 votes to none, with two abstentions (A/33/PV.85). It spells out the eight main principles, which will guide Member States in the preparation of societies for life in peace. Both this Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights share the same legal ways aimed at widely promoting the peace values and principles contained in human rights law, by proclaiming teaching and education as key elements to develop more peaceful societies. The human rights dimension is a key element in the Declaration.

On 17 December 1984, the UNGA passed the resolution 39/157 entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace” by which the General Assembly invited all stakeholders to incorporate active promotion of the ideas of the preparation of societies for live in peace in their programmes, including those concerning the observances of the International Year of Peace, 1986.

On 12 December 2002, the General Assembly adopted the resolution 42/91 entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace” without vote by which invited all States to guide themselves in their activities by principles enshrined in the Declaration aimed at establishing, maintaining and strengthening a just and durable peace for present and future generations.

The linkage between the concept of life and peace was included in the Preamble of the UN Charter[1]. Some legal international instruments (i.e. Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security and the Declaration on the Deepening and Consolidation of International Détente) have recognized the connection between life and peace in the line of the Preamble of the UN Charter.

The Durban Declaration expressly recognized in its paragraph 21 of the Preamble that peoples of the world are entitled with the right to live in peace and freedom and to equal participation without discrimination in economic, social, cultural, civil and political life.

The Human Rights Committee has issued two General Comments interpreting the content of Art. 6 on the right to life contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both comments focus on the duty of States to prevent mass violence such as war and emphasize the duty of States to adopt positive measures to protect the right to life. On 31 October 2014, the Committee unanimously decided to adopt its next General Comment on the right to life.

On 8 December 1988, the UNGA adopted without vote the resolution 43/111 [2] on “Human rights and use of scientific and technological developments: the right to life”, by which it reaffirmed that “all people have an inherent right to life”; recalled “the historic responsibility of Governments of all countries of the world to preserve civilization and to ensure that everyone his inherent right to life” and called upon “Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to intensify their efforts with a view to strengthening mutual understanding and trust in the spirit of peace and respect for human rights”.

Resources

General comments by the Human Rights Committee:

General Comment No. 6: The right to life (art. 6): 30 April 1982

General Comment No. 14: The right to life (art. 6): 9 November 1984

 


 

[1] Preamble, paragraph 5: “...to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours...”

[2] General Assembly resolution entitled “Human rights and use of scientific and technological developments: the right to life”, Res. 43/111 of 8 December 1988.

Human Right to Peace

On 31 July 1997 the Director-General of UNESCO wrote to the Heads of State or Government of Member States and Associate Members of UNESCO, informing them of the work done by the Organization concerning the human right to peace.

During the general debate held from 5 to 9 March 1998 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Member States were unanimous regarding the existence of an indivisible link between all human rights and peace and also recognized that the Draft Declaration to be prepared would primarily be an ethical document designed to proclaim principles. A number of Member States expressed doubts and reservations concerning the relevance of defining peace as a human right, its content and scope and UNESCO’s competence to draw up a standard-setting instrument on that subject.

In his final address the Rapporteur drew attention to the complexity of the subject examined and outlined the three main positions of the participants regarding the question of the right to peace: those who thought that it should be fully established as a human right; those who believed that it should be recognized as a moral right; and those for whom peace was not a human right, but an aspiration of human beings. Finally, UNESCO did not adopt a Declaration on the human right to peace because of complexity and different positions on this concept.

Recently, some civil society organizations have tried to introduce the notion of the “human right to peace” in the work of the Human Rights Council.  Despite their important and relevant mobilization, the Council always preferred to elaborate the notion of the “right of peoples to peace”. In fact, since 2008 the Council has always welcomed in all its resolutions the important work being carried out by civil society organizations for the promotion of the “right of peoples to peace”.

Documents

Report by the Director-General on the Human Right to Peace, Doc. 29 C/59, 29 October 1997

Report by the Director-General on the results of the international consultation of governmental experts on the human right to peace, Doc. 154 EX/40, 17 April 1998

Right to Enjoy Peace, Human Rights and Development

Declaration on the Right to Peace (2016)

Article 1

Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized.

 

Documentation on the negotiation process of the Declaration

General Assembly Official Records, 71st sess., 65th Plenary meeting (A/71/PV.65).

 

Background and elaboration

The Declaration on the Right to Peace is the end of a long process initiated by Cuba within the Commission on Human Rights in 2001, which continued at the Human Rights Council from 2006 to 2016.

In 2012, the Human Rights Council decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate of progressively negotiating a draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace, which was chaired by Ambassador Christian Guillermet of Costa Rica from 2012 to 2015.

On 19 December 2016, the plenary of the General Assembly ratified in its resolution 71/189 by a majority of its Member States the Declaration on the Right to Peace. The Declaration has positively become an important landmark on the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The 2016 Declaration on the Right to Peace updates the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace adopted in 1984 by including a human rights perspective. Taking into account that in a context of war all human rights are violated, the Declaration has a clear victim orientated approach, by stressing the right of everyone to enjoy the three UN pillars – peace, human rights and development-.

Since the Human Rights Council is exclusively focused on those who truly suffer in a conflict in light of the existing linkage between the three UN pillars, the Declaration on the Right to Peace has some value because it develops the New Agenda 2030.

On the basis of the notion of human dignity, the Declaration on the Right to Peace has elaborated in its article 2 the principles of equality and non-discrimination, justice and rule of law, and guarantee freedom from fear and want as a means to build peace within and between societies.

The message of the Declaration for the succeeding generations is that only though humanity peace can be achieved and that the main aspiration of men and women in the XXI century is to create a world free of war and conflict.

Resources

Open-ended intergovernmental working group on a draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace.