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CELAC / Zone of Peace: “A key step to countering the globalization of militarism” – UN Expert

GENEVA (3 February 2014) – The Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas, welcomed today the Declaration of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) proclaiming Latin America and the Caribbean as a ‘Zone of Peace.’ This Declaration was adopted by the 33 members of CELAC at the conclusion of the summit which took place on the 28th and 29th of January 2014 in Havana, Cuba.

“This new declaration which emphasizes the necessity of global disarmament is based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations, in particular the prohibition of the threat and use of force, and on the obligation to negotiate disputes in conformity with the UN Charter. It is a strong and positive example for the entire world,” emphasized the expert.

“Its effects will be even broader than the establishment 45 years ago of Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-free zone by the Treaty of Tlatelolco,” added Mr. de Zayas.

The expert highlighted that the new Declaration “is based on the desire of all the people to preserve and consolidate peace through the promotion of friendly relations between states and the commitment of all countries of the UN to resolve any differences through dialogue and peaceful means in conformity with international law.”

“The Declaration,” explained Mr. Zayas, “commits all members of the organization to strengthen regional integration with a vision to establish an international order based on the human right to peace and maintained by a culture of peace.”

“The vision excludes the use of force and the illegitimate means of defence, including weapons of mass destruction”, added the expert. “This implies the need to negotiate in order to reach complete nuclear disarmament and arrive at a significant reduction in the production and stockpiling of conventional weapons and trade thereon.”

For the Independent Expert, the establishment of zones of peace and cooperation in an increasing number of regions of the world will carry the commitment of the governments towards a significant decrease in military budgets and spending.

“This reduction implies the release of funds for development and a shift of the labour force previously dedicated to military industries toward peaceful activities, protection of human rights, conservation of the environment, the eradication of illiteracy, promotion of education and scientific research together with enhanced efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals and implement the agenda for the post-2015 period.”

“The CELAC Declaration is a positive sign towards the advancement of an international order which can and should be more democratic and equitable, based on the principles of the sovereignty of States and peoples and on international solidarity,” concluded the expert.

Alfred de Zayas (United States of America) was appointed as the first Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order by the Human Rights Council, effective May 2012. He is currently professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. Mr. de Zayas practiced corporate law and family law in New York and Florida. As a Human Rights Council’s mandate holder, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IntOrder/Pages/IEInternationalorderIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Federica Donati (+41 22 917 9496 / fdonati@ohchr.org) or write to ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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