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Tuesday,  1 July 2014

Dear Ambassador Guillermet, dear colleagues,

I have listened attentively to the statements by the delegations of the United States, Republic of Korea, Australia, the Russian Federation, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, Algeria, Morocco, Uruguay, Pakistan and Japan.  It is good that so many delegations are actively participating in this exercise and that constructive proposals have been made to strengthen the existing text.


As an academic who has published several studies on the Human Right to Peace, I venture to articulate an opinion that the Preamble needs to be completed by the addition of references to existing legal instruments and pertinent mechanisms.

I would propose adding the following preambular paragraphs

Reaffirming the GA Resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984 on the Right of Peoples to Peace;

Reaffirming GA Resolution 2625 on Friendly Relations;

Reaffirming GA Resolution 3314 and the Definition of Aggression appended thereto;

Reiterating the commitment of all United Nations members to settle international disputes through negotiation and peaceful means, as stipulated in article 2, paragraph 3, of the UN Charter;

Repudiating the threat of and the use of force as stipulated in article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter;

Reaffirming those articles of international treaties, notably of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which already codify component elements of the right to peace, inter alia the right to life and the right to security of person;

Recalling the commitment to disarmament made by States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, notably in its article VI ;

Encouraging the on-going discussions in the UN Conference on Disarmament;

Welcoming the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the General Assembly on 3 April 2013 and urging States to ratify it as soon as possible;

Concerned that the competition for resources, the scarcity of water, and the growing gulf between rich and poor in the world lead to instability and may result in armed conflict, and that such imbalances should be reduced by providing debt relief and technology transfer …

Besides the above additions, I would redraft the existing paragraph 12 by adding at the end of the paragraph:  … and in this connection endorsing the work of the UN Conference on Disarmament and the imperative to negotiate toward complete nuclear disarmament,

I would redraft the existing paragraph 17 by adding the concept of “structural violence”  so as to read: … and to end, reduce and prevent progressively structural violence and armed conflict, in particular, by observing the following:

Stylistically I would propose avoiding the gerund “recalling” to begin every preambular paragraph.  Instead, I  would suggest beginning each paragraph as follows:

  1. Guided by
  2. Guided also by
  3. Recalling
  4. Aware that friendly relations among nations
  5. Convinced that the inherent dignity
  6. Deploring that the disregard and contempt for human rights
  7. Affirming in particular
  8. Reaffirming the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular the doctrine that
  9. Considering that peace and security
  10. Reaffirming the Millennium Declaration and the universal commitment to eradicate poverty
  11. Convinced that the full and complete
  12. Conscious of the importance of prevention
  13. Confident that the Human Rights Council shall continue to contribute,
  14. Persuaded that the wide diffusion
  15. Endorsing the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education
  16. Committed to the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action

Lastly, I would like to recall that this joint effort to adopt a UN Declaration on the Right to Peace goes back to civil society initiatives and a worldwide movement for peace, spearheaded by the Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law, a movement that has garnered the support of more than 2000 civil society organizations, including PEN International.   Bearing in mind that individuals and groups in all regions of the world are active stakeholders in this process, it would be most regrettable if civil society organizations were to perceive the product of this working group as retrogression instead of progressive development of international law.

I thank you