Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
We are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.
|NEW MILESTONE TOWARDS A HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE
On the International Day of Human Rights (December 10), a draft Universal Declaration on the Human Right to Peace was adopted by human rights experts, lawyers and civil society representatives gathered at the International Congress on the Human Right to Peace in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on December 9-10, 2010.
The International Campaign for the Human Right to Peace was launched in 2007, led by the Spanish International Human Rights Lawyers Association. The campaign aims to achieve the codification of the human right to peace in international law (declaration or treaty), with the goal of eventually having it adopted at the UN General Assembly.
After four years of intensive meetings, consultations and debates, international experts and activists finalized the draft Universal Declaration on the Human Right to Peace and launched a new international campaign calling on the United Nations and international institutions to initiate the official codification of the Human Right to Peace. Discussions also took place towards the establishment of an International Observatory to monitor the Human Right to Peace, which would significantly contribute to preventing potential violent and armed conflicts and guaranteeing life in peace and security for all.
The International Congress on the Human Right to Peace (December 9-10, 2010) was organized by the Spanish Society for the International Human Right to Peace (SSIHRL), in collaboration with the Forum 2010, the World Council of Churches (Geneva, Switzerland) and the Institute for Peace Studies (Alexandria, Egypt), co-sponsored by numerous institutions from all over the world including the Global Article 9 Campaign. Representatives from the campaign's founding organizations Peace Boat and the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA) attended the Congress.
Around 200 representatives from NGOs around the world participated, as well as many UN-related people. Speakers and participants included eminent and high level international experts, notably the former Director of the UN Human Rights Division and former Special Rapporteur on Torture of the UN Human Rights Council Prof. Dr. Theodor Van Boven (Netherland), the President of the International Drafting Committee of the Barcelona Declaration on the Human Right to Peace Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury (Bangladesh), the President of The Hague Appeal for Peace and Keynote Speaker at the Global Article 9 Conference in 2008 Cora Weiss (USA), and the former President of the UN Committee on the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination Prof. Dr. Mario Yutzis (Argentina).
Key figure of the Global Article 9 Campaign and Secretary General of JALISA Sasamoto Jun made an intervention reminding that the right to live in peace for all people of the world is inscribed in the preamble of the Japanese Constitution, recalled the fact that Japanese legal cases and judgments reiterated such rights (notably the right to pursue happiness and the right not to not be involved in acts that harm others), and circulated information on these issues. Sasamoto also invited the International Campaign for the Human Right to Peace to work in partnership with the Global Article 9 Campaign.
Although there is a long way before the Declaration on the Human Right to Peace becomes an internationally recognized document - some anticipate it may take at leat 10 years - the holding of this Congress and the adoption of the draft Universal Declaration on the Right to Peace are important milestones.
The Human Right to Peace has already become a critical dimension in peace and human rights activism and, like peace constitutions, has been acknowledged as an important peace mechanism. As Cora Weiss puts it, the document should "not only [be seen] as a peace resolution nor as a human rights resolution, but as a resolution to protect and promote the democratic survival of humanity."
Read the draft Universal Declaration on the Human Right to Peace here.
Learn more about the Congress on Human Right to Peace, Santiago de Compostela, Dec 9-10, 2010 here.
Read the Article 9-related information sheet circulated at the conference here.
Learn more about Forum 2010 and the conferences and events dedicated to a culture of peace and peace education that took place in Santiago de Compostela through December here.
|GPPAC NORTHEAST ASIA STATEMENT FOR PEACE ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA |
Following the November 23 artillery exchange between North and South Korea that caused the tragic killing of and injuries to the people of Yeonpyeong Island, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Northeast Asia issued a statement calling for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Members of regional and international civil society organizations, including the Global Article 9 Campaign, came together to "categorically condemn the attack" and call on "the people of Northeast Asia [to] be united in calling for peace."
The statement urges the governments and people concerned to stop military activities and immediately work to start dialogue, including the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. It further insists that the incident must not serve as an excuse for military build-up or an increase of military expenditure - instead that "regional cooperative disarmament measures and security arrangements should be developed". As part of such measures, the document highlights the Joint Statement of the North-South Summit of October 4, 2007, in which the parties agreed to work towards establishing a sea-based demilitarized Peace and Cooperation Zone in the West Sea/Yellow Sea.
The statement also warned the media against any provocation in its reporting of the crisis and insisted on its responsibility to "promote a balanced analysis and facilitate dialogue."
Read the full GPPAC-Northeast Asia Statement for Peace on the Korean Peninsula here.
|INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP FOR PEACE AND DISARMAMENT IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION: FOR CIVILIAN CONTROL OF THE SECURITY SECTOR |
On November 17-18, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Center of Peace and Law of the Institute of Legal Studies of Inha University, in partnership with the Pacific Freeze, Peace Network and Civil Peace Forum, organized an international workshop as part of the Asia-Pacific Freeze Campaign, aimed at reducing military spending in a region characterized by remnant Cold War tensions and a constant arms race.
Panelists from South Korea, Japan, China, the US and Europe critically analyzed the situation from their respective perspectives and provided recommendations towards creating a civil movement for conflict prevention, disarmament, reconciliation and peace in the Asia Pacific region.
The event took place a few days before the deadly exchange of artillery between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, which epitomizes the urgent need to address the ongoing tensions in the Korean Peninsula, reduce military spending in the Asia-Pacific and reallocate resources towards establishing dialogue, sustainable development and peace promotion.
During the different sessions, the positive role of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution was recalled by several speakers and its potential to serve as a basis for peace in the region explored at a few occasions.
Kawasaki Akira of Peace Boat / Global Article 9 Campaign analyzed Japan's defense policies, based on Japan's 2010 Defense White Paper and the most recent report by an advisory panel to Japan's Prime Minister entitled "Japan's Vision for Future Defense Capabilities in the New Era". The latter, while recommending that the country aim to become a "peace creation country" promoting international cooperation, non-traditional security and human security, questioned Japan's "exclusively-defense oriented policy" as set forth under Article 9 of the country's constitution and advocated it revise its longstanding ban on arms export.
Kawasaki described how the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Japan-US Security Treaty and the current debate on security arrangement between the two countries could be used as an entry for civil society engagement towards the creation of an East Asia Peace Community, through economic cooperation and the creation of new arms control, disarmament and confidence-building mechanisms. He underlined the innovative role civil society can play in developing and putting forward new approaches to security that do not rely on the military, but instead contribute to curbing the militarization of the economy, keeping military spending under control and freeing resources for social and economic development and peace.
John Feffer from the US-based Institute for Policy Studies/Pacific Freeze Campaign called for "a coordinated freeze and then reduction in military spending among the countries that were involved in the Six Party Talks." Colin Archer from the International Peace Bureau encouraged participants to participate in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, to be held on April 12, 2011. This day aims to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for a shift of priorities.
Yuasa Ichiro from Peace Depot called for a Northeast Asian "common security" to be shaped through multilateral dialogue and cooperation. Based on the example of how Article 9 of Japan's constitution allowed the country to enjoy 65 years of pacifism, helped Tokyo to advance its diplomacy and raised Japan's international reputation, Yuasa called on the Japanese government to "declare a demilitarized diplomatic policy under cooperation with international organizations such as the United Nations."
Debates put a strong emphasis on the need to build a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Northeast Asia. On the second day, in a dedicated workshop on the topic, several lawmakers (including Park Sunsook, Park Eunsoo, Kwon Younggil and Cho Seungsoo) stressed how the efforts to establish such a NWFZ in Northeast Asia should go hand in hand with the Six-Party Talks.
The event ended with a call for Peace and Disarmament in the Asia-Pacific Region and the Establishment of a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.
Looking at setting the ground for a new civil society movement for peace and disarmament in the region, the document called on "parliaments, municipal governments, intellectuals, and civil society [to] each play a creative role."
It also emphasized that "the Japanese Peace Constitution has provided a great contribution to the peaceful rise of Northeast Asia and such initiatives should be continued." Based on this, they also urged "all the countries in the Pacific region to actually implement the peace principles and standards suggested in their constitutions and various laws and policies."
Read the full text of the Call for Peace and Disarmament in the Asia-Pacific Region and the Establishment of a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, here.
Read Peace Boat/Article 9 Campaign's Kawasaki Akira's presentation on Japan's security policies here.
Read Peace Depot's Yuasa Ichiro's call for civilian control of the security sector, here.
Other presentations and papers from the event can be found on the PSPD website here.
|ECUADOR'S PEACE CONSTITUTION PAVES THE WAY TO HISTORIC DEFENSE OF NATURE'S RIGHTS
Two years after Ecuador adopted its new peace Constitution - the first to ever grant and legislate rights to nature - a group of defenders of the environment are invoking it to file a groundbreaking lawsuit against British Petroleum (BP).
Article 71 of the Ecuadorean constitution reads: "Nature or Pachamama [mother earth], where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature before the public bodies."
Using this unique clause, the plaintiffs accuse BP of having violated the rights of Nature by causing massive environmental damage, in particular in the context of the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The lawsuit was filed by Defenders of Nature's Rights - a coalition of environmentalists and indigenous leaders from India, Nigeria, Ecuador and Mexico in Ecuador's Constitutional Court by citing its Article 71 and invoking universal jurisdiction.
Traditionally used to prosecute human rights violations committed by nationals or foreigners in any part of the world, universal jurisdiction will for the first time be invoked to protect nature's rights as granted by Ecuador's constitution.
"We see this as a test case of the rights of nature enshrined in the constitution of Ecuador, which is why it's about universal jurisdiction, beyond the boundaries of Ecuador, because nature has rights everywhere, " says Indian scientist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.
"Ecuador, by putting the rights of nature [in their constitution], created history, and now there's legal ground to file these cases rather than letting those lines in the Ecuadorian constitution lie inert," she added.
According to the plaintiffs' lawyer, Diana Murcia, "one of [the Defenders of Nature's Rights'] goals is to introduce Nature in the international debate as a rights-bearing entity."
"It is important we understand there's only one [mother earth (...) and that is why we have to join forces, to make the great changes that we want and make a new civilization (... ) that reclaims life itself, that reclaims collective responsibility, and that reclaims a new way of life in harmony with nature," stated Alberto Acosta, ex-president of the Constitutional Assembly in Ecuador.
Picture credit: The Embassy of Ecuador in Japan
Thank you for your interest in and support for the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War throughout 2010.
We wish you all the best for this holiday season and look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year.
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat