On 10 March 2017, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, delivered an oral statement at the 34th regular session of the Human Rights Council devoted to the recent adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Peace by the General Assembly on behalf of a large NGO group.

They underscored that this group of NGO were taking the floor to celebrate the adoption of the recent Declaration on the Right to Peace at the 71th General Assembly in New York on December 19, 2016. Regrettably, the resolution (A/RES/71/189) to which the Declaration is attached did not reach a consensus but has been adopted with 131 countries voting in favour, 34 against and 19 abstentions. The new declaration states: “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized.”

According to them, with this declaration, peace becomes a universal and inalienable human right clearly indivisible, interdependent and interrelated to all other human rights. Peace, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the development of friendly relations between the Nations are the foundations of the international legal framework, as stated in the Preamble and Art. 1 of the United Nations Charter.

They added that in today’s world, devastated by a “piecemeal Third World War” where armed conflicts, hate and poverty prevail, the recognition by an overwhelming majority of States that “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace”, sends a very much needed message of peace and hope to humanity and in particular to young and future generations.

For them, this Declaration on the Right to Peace is a further step in the right direction, but it is not the end. We cannot stop here. It is now necessary to take appropriate measures to implement the right to peace, first of all by promoting, at all levels, a culture of peace and nonviolence. States should support the development of infrastructures for peace in order to put this in practice and realize the right to peace.

Finally, they appealed to all Member States, which bear the primary responsibility for the international order, to make an even greater effort to ensure peace in the world, respect human dignity and human rights, protect all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and realize a more equitable and sustainable development. As the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres clearly called for on the 1st of January 2017 – “Let us make 2017 a year for peace”.

The statement was delivered by Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII on behalf of the following civil society organizations:

American Association of Jurists

Association Points-Coeur

BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian residency and refugee rights

Foundation Gaia

International Association of Peace Messenger Cities

International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)

International Volunteerism Association for Women Education Development (VIDES)

Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco (IIMA)

Make Mothers Matter

Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI)

New Humanity

Nonviolent Peaceforce

ONG Hope International

Pax Christi International

Planetary Association for Clean Energy (PACE)

Teresian Association

The Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN)

United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY)

Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF)

World Union Catholic Women