Peace is not only a value which should govern international relations. Peace is also a human right whose right-holders are all individuals, groups and peoples: everyone has the right to live in peace; everyone has the right to a just, sustainable and lasting peace. Peace is not merely the absence of armed conflict, internal or international. Peace is a much broader and positive concept that includes the right to be educated on and for peace; the right to human security and to live in a safe and healthy environment; the right to development and to a sustainable environment; the right to civil disobedience and to conscientious objection against activities that entail a threat against peace; the right to resist and oppose oppression of regimes that violate human rights; the right to demand from all States a general and complete disarmament; freedom of thought, opinion, expression, conscience and religion; the right to seek and to enjoy refugee status; the right to migrate and participate in the public affairs of the State of residence; and the right to truth. justice and reparation to all victims of human rights violations.
This is the way understood by 1.793 civil society organizations, cities and public institutions world-wide which have adhered to the Santiago Declaration on the Human Right to Peace. It is supported, among others, by Juanes, Miguel Bosé, Eva Longoria, Alejandro Sanz, and many other public figures who like us are convinced that peace is a human right.
We are not far to achieve this purpose: the United Nations, welcoming the world-wide demand from civil society, is now drafting a Declaration, which will be submitted to the General Assembly. Once we finally obtain the approval of a Universal Declaration on the Human Right to Peace in line with the aspirations of civil society, everyone will have a check -as suggested by Martin Luther King- whereby we will be able to demand States to comply with: peace will no longer be something to be managed by the world leaders at their will. Peace will be the concern of all of us.
We cannot leave the drafting process and adoption of the Declaration with the responsibility of our governments alone, because we would risk to turn it into worthless scraps of paper. Therefore, before the States decide on this matter, we want to request them to adopt a truly Universal Declaration of the Human Right to Peace, which should be commensurate with the aspirations of civil society.
To the attention of the General Assembly of the United Nations and all Member States:
I have been informed that an open-ended working group on the right to peace appointed by the UN Human Rights Council is currently elaborating a UN Declaration on the Right to Peace, on the basis of the draft submitted by the Advisory Committee. At the end of the process the Declaration will be approved by the UN General Assembly.
I urge all Member States of the United Nations to take into consideration the aspirations of civil society as spelled out by the Santiago Declaration on the Human Right to Peace, approved by civil society on 10 December 2010.
I also invite civil society organizations to participate at the first session of the working group to be held in Geneva in February 2013.