The status of today’s world can be traced back to the two tragic world wars of the last century and their devastating aftermath, from which the United Nations was founded to respond to the atrocities of conflict and loss of human dignity. Since then, many international agreements and declarations have been developed as mechanisms to secure peace, designating human rights and a world free of wars as core values of our contemporary times.
Nevertheless, additional challenges such as national and religious conflicts, cultural bias and ethnic hatred have hindered the movement of peace, and these elements of division have made it even harder to effectively cope with the new phenomenon of recent global conflicts. At the very core of this issue are the recurrent conflicts in which scores of innocent civilians have to pay the price.
In this regard, what we must consider is that the international society needs a comprehensive legal approach that guides citizens’ daily lives, regardless of their nationalities, ethnicities, and religions, in accordance with the promotion of peace. The invention of a legal framework to secure peace at both national and international levels in the form of an international agreement (law) will pave the way for developing peace processes in our world.
These essential objectives of HWPL are manifested in the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) drafted by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, which is comprised of prominent international law experts from 15 different countries, and proclaimed on 14 March, 2016 in the form of a Preamble, 10 articles and 38 clauses.
Under the Law for Peace Initiative, HWPL engages substantially with civil society actors because peace cannot be sustained only through the voices of elites and institutionalized processes. Going beyond all divisional lines, HWPL suggests a civil society function in peacebuilding, which aims at the implementation of citizens’ advocacy and the voluntary practice of democratic values, thus fostering a culture of peace.
The main activities within this function are carried out under the Legislate Peace Campaign, a bottom-up approach for peaceful conflict resolution through establishing an international peace law. More leaders in politics, legal fields, the press, and faith-based organizations are acknowledging the greater involvement of civil society within the initiative and have implemented joint activities advocating for the ultimate peace system that can encompass all States and peoples.
Civil society actors and government representatives working with HWPL ensure that they will continue to call for a successful Law for Peace Initiative based on governmental and nongovernmental cooperation, thereby building participatory structures which allow sustainable peace settlement. When an international legal framework compatible with the DPCW is established and holds all States accountable for peaceful conflict resolution and ceasing war-like activities, HWPL believes that it will eradicate the structural causes of violent conflicts. This is the source of the sustainable advocacy efforts.
Recalling the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Acknowledging that all members of the human family enjoy human dignity and equal and inalienable rights, and that these rights represent a necessary tenet of the preservation of freedom, justice and peace throughout the world,
Aiming to maintain international peace and security and determined to pass on to successive generations an invaluable inheritance of a world free of wars,
Ensuring the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force should not be used, save in accordance with the limitations prescribed by international law,
Reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, the promotion of social progress and better standards of life for people and future generations and the need to facilitate peaceful coexistence among the world’s religions, beliefs, and ethnicities;
Recognizing that the principle of equal rights and self- determination of peoples constitutes a significant contribution to contemporary international law, and that its effective application is of paramount importance,
Bearing in mind the universal commitment of the world’s religions to the promotion of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and mutual respect, and the common spirit that permeates all religious scriptures and holy texts,
Bearing in mind the sovereign equality of States, and
Convinced that judicial and other dispute resolution measures can replace the rule of war with the rule of law
Call upon States
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from international law can be maintained, and
in accordance with the common spirit that permeates all religious scriptures, and the rules of international law, including fundamental rights guaranteed, to undertake to prosecute and sanction gross and systematic acts of violence undertaken in the name of religion
to bring about gradual disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and weapons capable of causing widespread and unnecessary suffering and weapons incompatible with international humanitarian law.
The signatories to the present Declaration do hereby urge that all efforts be made so that this Declaration is adopted and respected by all States.
1. States should solemnly reaffirm that they refrain from the use of force in all circumstances, save where permitted by international law, and should condemn aggression as constituting an international crime.
2. States should refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of military force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations Charter or international law in general.
3. States should prohibit any act or threat of violence, whatever its motives or purposes, that occurs for the advancement of an individual or collective criminal agenda.
4. States should abstain from interference in the internal conflicts of other States.
In May 2013, the Declaration of World Peace, the cornerstone of this initiative, was proclaimed. It emphasized the necessity of establishing the international law for peace, encouraging all global citizens in the fields of politics, religion, media, youth, and women to become messengers of peace.
The WARP Summit provided a platform for government representatives to acknowledge and sign the agreement of cooperation for the implementation of the international law for peace and cessation of war.
During the 1st Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit, the HWPL International Law Peace Committee was inaugurated. The role of the Committee was to draft the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to establish a framework which integrates cross-cutting issues into one document.
On the 14th of March 2016, within a mere 6 months from its original conception, the DPCW was proclaimed. Overall, the Declaration touches topics that are collectively paramount in consolidating and sustaining international peace and security.
During the Summit, the 4th HWPL International Law Peace Committee Meeting was held in 3 parallel sessions on the topic of “Cooperation with States for the Development and Introduction of the DPCW to the UN”, which drew a follow-up plan to develop cooperative relations with States and civil societies.
To protect justice, rights and value for humanity, we have to take aggressive actions towards preserving life, peace, and harmony which are the vision of HWPL. HWPL will not stop advocating for the achievement of global peace and security through establishing an international agreement (law) based upon the principles of the DPCW to further encompass all States.
The global movement of support, from both civil society and governments, plays a key role in pushing the initiative forward regardless of the roadblocks and providing the basis to generate the unified political will for the necessary changes to happen.
The Legislate Peace Campaign is a global peace advocacy campaign aiming to bring all wars to an end and spread a culture of peace by establishing a legal framework compatible with the DPCW. Civil society, women, and youth who unite as one to voice their right to peace and freedom from wars and conflicts continue to carry out substantial coordinated activities in actualization of the DPCW and urge those in leadership positions at community and national levels to take action. Some of these activities are as follows:- Sign Your Support Projects: collecting signatures and letters of support- Hosting peace walks- Organizing advocacy conferences, forums, seminars, lectures- Establishing peace monuments & museums
Through these various channels, under the Legislate Peace Campaign, citizens develop cooperative relationships with their respective communities, schools, and NGOs to build a global civil network of support and represent the positive demand for peace.Legislate Peace Campaign
Aiming to enhance fundamental human rights and to secure the sovereignty of States, the DPCW, the future-oriented document, calls upon States to repurpose the production facilities of weapons, so that they may serve purposes that are beneficial to humanity and leave the legacy of peace to future generations. In doing so it presents a holistic, global and universal instrument that is able to reflect the interdependent and interconnected causes of wars throughout the world.
Conflict prevention: encourages states to cooperate in gradual disarmament, repurpose weapon-manufacturing facilities for the benefit of humanity and develop friendly relations through mutual respect of the sovereign equality and right to self-determination of all States.- Prohibition of the threat or use of force- War potential- Friendly relations and the prohibition of acts of aggression- State boundaries- Self-determination
Conflict mediation: focuses on conflict mediation through reaffirming the role of international supervision organizations in maintaining international peace and security.- Dispute settlement- Right to self-defense
Securing sustainable peace: includes targets for the means of implementation- Freedom of religion- Religion, ethnic identity and peace- Spreading a culture of peace
In order to achieve the ultimate goal of implementing a legally binding international instrument based on the DPCW, HWPL is encouraging states to join the Group of Friends and cooperate with them for the submission and adoption of the document at the UN General Assembly.
By elaborating the addressed rules prescribed in the Declaration and adapting them to individual circumstances, the Sponsoring States will endorse the development of the document as a global application, urging for international cooperation in contributing to a more secure and prosperous global community.