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Statement on the occasion of International Day of Peace, 21/09/2015

Geneva – 21 September 2015: On the occasion of international day of peace the Independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order urges the Human Rights Council to continue its work toward the adoption of a Declaration on the Right to Peace in its individual and collective dimensions in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"The Human Rights Council must listen to the demand of hundreds of civil society organizations that the fruitful work of the UN workshop on the right to peace and the Advisory Committee's draft declaration be continued by the extension of the mandate of the inter-governmental working work on the right to peace. Civil society should be given greater opportunity to participate in the elaboration of this instrument in its holistic meaning, not limited to security issues which are the primary competence of the Security Council, but encompassing all human rights impacts.

I deplore the continued sabre-rattling by some States, in contravention of article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which specifically prohibits propaganda for war, the continued arms race characterized by increasing military spending, provocative military exercises and the holding of huge fairs where the merchants of death expose their wares intended to strengthen the logic of war and of sustained militarism.

On the other hand, there are some reasons for optimism, including the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty or the successful completion of a compromise agreement on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, consistent with the obligation of all States to settle disputes by peaceful means pursuant to article 2(3) of the UN Charter.  The reduction of tension and the lifting of sanction will promote peaceful exchanges in the region and positively impact the international order.

Disarmament is the key to development. In a world where millions of human beings die of famine and disease, it is shocking that high percentages of national budgets are still being consumed by the military -- not only through procurement of weapons, but through the unconscionable waste of resources by directing research capacities into the production of lethal autonomous weapon systems (killer robots) and other horrible new weapons. I urge all States and concerned parties to implement the pragmatic recommendations I have formulated in my 2014 report to the Human Rights Council on military spending and human rights. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will only be achieved when and if States stop the arms race and jointly agree to gradually eliminate the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

On international day of peace States should focus on resolving the root causes of local, regional and international conflict, which follow the great injustices and inequalities prevailing in the world, the race for natural resources, the asymmetries of trade relations, and the impact of climate change. Much more effort must be devoted to conflict-prevention and the creation of infrastructures that will ensure sustainable development.”