By Eyongeta Jomia
March 14, saw the 5th annual commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) in a live webinar summit. It was attended by over 1,200 people in 132 countries from all sectors of the society including, international organisation, Government, heads of women and youth groups, religious leaders, press, and members of civil society.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a peace NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and associated with UN DGC organised this year’s commemorative event on the theme, “Marching on Toward Sustainable Peace in a Pandemic Era”. To cease all wars and create a peaceful world as a legacy for future generations, cooperating across the world as peace messengers, responding to the pandemic and bringing peace in this new socially distanced world, HWPL has been carrying out 3 main peace initiatives – international law for peace, interfaith dialogue meeting, and peace education.
As a member of the International Law Peace Committee, ILPC, who drafted the DPCW, Professor Ciaran Burke explained that the DPCW was founded on “the conviction that judicial and other dispute resolution measure can replace the role of war with the rule of law.” DPCW includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement. It emphasises international cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create a culture of peace.
“The envisioned effect of the DPCW is cumulative to scale up the moral and political responsibility of world leaders by crystallising the legal obligations of their government thereby bridging the gap between law and politics,” Professor Ciaran Burke added.
Since its proclamation on March 14, 2016, the DPCW-based peacebuilding model went on to receive government recognition and support for inter-religious dialogue, peace education, youth and women’s peace activities.
Countries in Southeast Asia and Central America have begun to rebuild their national legal infrastructure based on the DPCW, and the local governments are officially declaring their support for the DPCW to implement peace principles. In South Asia, the DPCW was introduced into the University curriculum as an academic research course on the role of law for a peaceful society.
According to UNESCO, over 190 countries closed down educational facilities, and over 1.6 billion students lost their opportunity for sustainable education. As a part of the online campaign, “Teaching goes on”, HWPL’s peace education is now taught at 214 locations in 34 countries, providing online peace education for over 5,000 students 224 times in 15 countries.
Stressing the importance of strengthening partnership for sustainable peace education, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Mali to UNESCO, Oumar Keita, said, “We must unite in a spirit of cooperation to ensure peace at the national and international levels. We must consider the need for a comprehensive legal approach that will lead citizens in their everyday lives, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion. The preamble to DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses speaks of that very well.”
Regarding the importance of religion in spreading hope and peace during the pandemic crisis, Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq, President of the World Organisation of Religion & Knowledge, WARP, said, “Whenever humanity faces a difficult time era, there has been a religion which gives them hope and courage to overcome crises. Religion has its power to narrow down differences among us and unite us to be strong enough to break through obstacles. Such efforts will fertilise the culture of peace when the current generation is in desperate need for hope.”
International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an affiliate of HWPL, is building a peace network of youth around the world with the Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW), inspired by the DPCW’s peace realisation process, to achieve youth empowerment proposed in the UN SDGs and Youth 2030.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL urged for cooperation and unity saying “No property or anything can become a legacy in the future. We must create a world of freedom, peace, and love without war, and make it an eternal legacy for our descendants. This is what we need to do in this era.”