Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives


Regional Instruments

Arab States Region

Charter of the Arab League (1945)

The main goal of the League is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration among them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries" (See Art. 2).

Art. 3: the League will co-operate with the international bodies to be established in the future in order to guarantee security and peace and regulate economic and social relations.

Arab Charter on Human Rights (1994)

Preamble: it acknowledged the "close interrelationship between human rights and world peace" and the right of the Arab world "to a life of dignity based on freedom, justice and peace".

Art. 35: "citizens have a right to live in an intellectual and cultural environment in which Arab nationalism is a source of pride, in which human rights are sanctified and in which racial, religious and other forms of discrimination are rejected and international cooperation and the cause of world peace are supported".

Arab Convention For The Suppression Of Terrorism (1998)

Preamble: "...all forms of violence and terrorism and advocates the protection of human rights, with which precepts the principles of international law conform, based as they are on cooperation among peoples in the promotion of peace";

Charter of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (2008)

Art. 1.6: recognizes that the Member States will "promote inter-state relations based on justice, mutual respect and good neighbourliness to ensure global peace, security and harmony;"

Art. 2.5: All Member States undertake to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security and to refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs as enshrined in the present Charter, the Charter of the United Nations, international law and international humanitarian law;

Art. 27 regulates the system of peaceful settlement of disputes by which the Member States undertake to settle their disputes through good offices, negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Asia and the Pacific Region

Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (2007)

In accordance with article 1 of the Charter, the purposes of ASEAN are the following:

"to maintain and enhance peace, security and stability and further strengthen peace-oriented values in the region; to enhance regional resilience by promoting greater political, security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation; to preserve Southeast Asia as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction and to ensure that the peoples and Member States of ASEAN live in peace with the world at large in a just, democratic and harmonious environment."

Article 2 states that the ASEAN and its Member States shall act in accordance with the following principles:

"respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States; shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity; renunciation of aggression and of the threat or use of force or other actions in any manner inconsistent with international law; reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes; non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States and respect for the right of every Member State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion and coercion."  

Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (2009)

Pursuant to article 1.2, one of the purposes of the AICHR is "to uphold the right of the peoples of ASEAN to live in peace, dignity and prosperity."

Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance "Rio Treaty" (1947).

In accordance with this treaty,

Art. 1: The High Contracting Parties formally condemn war and undertake in their international relations not to resort to the threat or the use of force in any manner inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations or of this Treaty

Charter of the Organization of American States (1948 - amended by protocols of 1967, 1985, 1992 and 1993)

The OAS Charter stressed that the essential purposes of the Organisation are the following: "to strengthen the peace and security of the continent" (Art. 2); the enforcement of principles of "social justice and social security are bases of lasting peace" and the implementation of an education system "directed toward justice, freedom and peace" (Art. 3).

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean States "Treaty of Tlatelolco" (1967)

This Treaty establishes the denuclearization of the territory of Latin America and the Caribbean States.

Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Field of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1988)

Art. 13 - Right to education- : "The States Parties to this Protocol agree that education should be directed towards the full development of the human personality and human dignity and should strengthen respect for human rights, ideological pluralism, fundamental freedoms, justice and peace. They further agree that education ought to enable everyone to participate effectively in a democratic and pluralistic society and achieve a decent existence and should foster understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups and promote activities for the maintenance of peace."

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States "Caracas Declaration" (2011)

According to the Declaration, CELAC will be "the highest expression of our will for unity in diversity, where henceforth, our political, economic, social and cultural ties will strengthen on the basis of a common agenda of welfare, peace and security for our peoples, with a view to consolidation of our regional community".

African Region

Charter of the Organisation of the African Unity (1963)

Art. 3. 4: The Member States, in pursuit of the purposes stated in Article II solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to the following principles: …. "Peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation or arbitration."

Art. 19: "Member States pledge to settle all disputes among themselves by peaceful means and, to this end decide to establish a Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration, the composition of which and conditions of service shall be defined by a separate Protocol to be approved by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. Said Protocol shall be regarded as forming an integral part of the present Charter."

Cultural Charter for Africa (1976)

Art. 27: "African governments should have to adopt national laws and inter-African regulations governing the protection of cultural property in times of peace and in the event of war."

Convention for the Elimination of Mercenaries from Africa (1977)

Art. 1.3 : "Any person, natural or juridical who commits the crime of mercenarism as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article commits an offence considered as a crime against peace and security in Africa and shall be punished as such."

Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (1991)

Art. 3.f: “Peaceful settlement of disputes among Member States, active co-operation between neighbouring countries and promotion of a peaceful environment as a pre-requisite for economic development”.

Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Trans-boundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa (1994)

Art. 20.1: “In case of dispute between Parties as to the interpretation or application of, or compliance with, this Convention or any Protocol thereto, the Parties shall seek a settlement of the dispute through negotiations or any other peaceful means of their own choice”.

African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty "Pelindaba Treaty" (1996)

It recalled in its Preamble that "the African nuclear-weapon-free zone will constitute an important step towards strengthening the non-proliferation regime, promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, promoting general and complete disarmament and enhancing regional and international peace and security"; it reaffirmed "the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the need for the implementation of all its provisions" and was "determined to promote regional cooperation for the development and practical application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in the interest of sustainable social and economic development of the Africa continent." 

Convention of the African Energy Commission (2001)

Art. 3. l: “For the purpose of this Convention, the Member States solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to the following principles […] peaceful settlement of disputes”. 

Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (2002)

All text.

Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union (2003)

Art. 4.h: "the right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as well as a serious threat to legitimate order to restore peace and stability to the Member State of the Union upon the recommendation of the Peace and Security Council”

African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2003)

It recalled in its Preamble that the Constitutive Act of the African Union recognized that "freedom, equality, justice, peace and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples."

Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (2004)

It re-stated in the Preamble the conviction that "terrorism constitutes a serious violation of human rights and a threat to peace, security, development, and democracy". Moreover, article 4 ("Mechanism for implementation") stated that "the Peace and Security Council shall be responsible for harmonizing and coordinating continental efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism".

Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact (2005)

Art. 3, a)  "State Parties undertake, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitutive Act, to resolve any differences by peaceful means, in order to avoid endangering peace and security; to refrain from the use of force or threat to use force in their relations with each other and in any manner whatsoever, incompatible with the United Nations Charter. Consequently, no consideration whatsoever, be it political, economic, military, religious or racial shall justify aggression"

b) "State Parties undertake to develop and strengthen the friendly and peaceful relations among them in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Union"

Art. 15: “State Parties involved in any dispute shall first seek a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, or resort to regional and continental mechanisms or arrangements, or other peaceful means”.

Western & Eastern Europe

European Convention on Human Rights (1950, as amended by protocols 11 and 14)

Preamble: "Reaffirming their profound belief in those fundamental freedoms which are the foundation of justice and peace in the world and are best maintained on the one hand by an effective political democracy and on the other by a common understanding and observance of the human rights upon which they depend"

Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (1951)

Preamble, the signatories considered that the world peace can be safeguarded only by creative efforts commensurate with the dangers that threaten it; they affirmed that the contribution which an organised and vital Europe can make to civilisation is indispensable for the maintenance of peaceful relations; they recognised that Europe can be built only through practical achievements which will first of all create real solidarity and through the establishment of common bases for economic development; and they reaffirmed their commitment to help, by expanding their basic production, to raise the standard of living and further the works of peace.

Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (1957)

It affirmed in its Preamble that nuclear energy constitutes the essential resource for ensuring the expansion and invigoration of production and for effecting progress in peaceful achievement and committed to associate other countries with them in their work and of co-operating with international organisations concerned with the peaceful development of atomic energy. In accordance with article 2 the Community shall "establish with other countries and with international organisations any contacts likely to promote progress in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy".

Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (1957)

The Preamble strengthened the safeguards of peace and liberty by establishing this combination of resources, and called upon the other peoples of Europe who share their ideal to join in their efforts.

Article 224 states that member States shall consult one another for the purpose of enacting in common the necessary provisions to prevent the functioning of the Common Market from being affected by measures which a Member State may be called upon to take in case of serious internal disturbances affecting public order, in case of war or of serious international tension constituting a threat of war or in order to carry out undertakings into which it has entered for the purpose of maintaining peace and international security.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

It adopted recommendation 1112 (1989) on the cooperation East-West co-operation at the close of the twentieth century by which it stressed that the future cooperation between East and West must be based on “consolidation of peace, trustworthiness, security and freedoms in Europe”.

Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts (1997)

Its Preamble states that Member States "resolved to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence in accordance with the provisions of Article J.7, thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and in the world"

Article J.1 states that the Union shall define and implement a common foreign and security policy covering all areas of foreign and security policy, among them, "to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter, including those on external borders."

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000)

Its Preamble states that "the peoples of Europe, in creating an ever closer union among them, are resolved to share a peaceful future based on common values."

Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty of the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community (2007)

In accordance with article 2, the Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples and to contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the UN Charter.