Endorsing Accountability for Global Peace Building
Letters from Citizens to National Leaders: Endorsing Accountability for Global Peace Building at the UN General Assembly
On March 14th, about 30,000 people from all sectors of society including government officials, religious leaders, heads of NGOs, media, and general citizens, gathered in Seoul, South Korea, to increase efforts for the establishment of an international law for peace.
Celebrating its 3rd anniversary, the annual commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was hosted by an international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), to share the progress of activities undertaken to introduce the DPCW to the UN as a resolution.
HWPL, is a peace NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and associated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the UN DGC. For the purpose of ceasing all wars and creating a peaceful world as a legacy for future generations, HWPL has been carrying out 3 main peace initiatives - International law for peace, inter-faith dialogue meetings, and peace education. The DPCW drafted by international law experts includes principles of peacebuilding, such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement. It also emphasizes international cooperation based on interfaith dialogue, and civic participation to create and spread a culture of peace.
Mr. Pravin Harjivandas Parekh, President of Confederation of Indian Bar, who attended the March 14th event, said “The strength of HWPL is to awaken the civil society with the idea of peace. The DPCW connects considerably with civil society’s contributors since peace cannot be continued just through the voices of elites and institutional processes. It suggests civil society’s function as the peace-building actors who aim for the implementation of the citizens’ advocacy, encouraging a culture of peace.”
Regarding a culture of peace, Ms. Anna Cervenakova, a member of the Human Rights Research Center, explained that it means a certain system of values, firstly, respect for human life, ending war, armed conflicts and violence; and taking action in promoting peace, human rights, fundamental freedoms, sustainable development, and environmental needs for present and future generations.
According to the progress report announced at the event, the DPCW has been supported by Seychelles, eSwatini, and Comoros at the governmental level. At the international level, the inter-governmental organizations such as PARLACEN (Central American Parliament), PAP (Pan-African Parliament), and Centre for BBS (International Centre for Black Sea-Baltic Studies and Consensus Practices) have cooperated with HWPL for the enactment of the DPCW through signing MOU’s.
Along with the official support from governments and international organizations, this year’s anniversary highlighted sending Peace Letters to the heads of states and UN ambassadors in 193 countries. Written by global citizens, the “Peace Letter Campaign”, part of the advocacy plan for an international movement of peace building by civic participation, has been carried out worldwide to collect support from women, youth, and citizens for the establishment of a legally-binding framework for an international law for peace.
“Since 2018, IPYG has collected over 200,000 peace letters and sent them to heads of states in 7 countries: South Africa, Indonesia, New Zealand, Namibia, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea. Starting from today, we have great expectations for it’s future. The first goal is to submit the DPCW to the UN General Assembly in the form of a draft resolution and have it adopted. The second is to create a new peninsula to achieve peaceful unification in Korea. Let us all become heroes of peace together,” said Mr. Young Min Chung of general director of IPYG.
After the first session, a lecture on “Civil Society’s Role for Peaceful Unification, Exchange, and Cooperation of the Korean Peninsula” followed at the second session. This peace lecture was aimed to call for the collaborative efforts of civil society for peacebuilding among the two Koreas based on the principals of the DPCW.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “Korea has undergone much sorrow from the division, which still threatens our daily lives. When I was 20 years old, I had no choice but to join the tragic war. We need to listen to what the soldiers said. They blamed their countries. Do the countries compensate for the loss of life? There should no longer be victims of war in our globe. Should we stand still and do nothing in this reality?”
“The unification of Germany was triggered by citizens, not by force or politics. Some might say that the military confrontation serves as a major challenge to peace and unification. Use of force must be dissuaded to achieve peace, which is also designated in the DPCW. It has principles to secure peace in our times. When we advocate peace to our national leaders, they can be peace advocates; But if they do not listen to their people, they will be offenders against peace.”