Towards the enforcement of the right to peace

A global advocacy programme aimed at strengthening the legal framework on the human right to peace and crimes against peace

The human right to peace

Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, the international community has been actively engaged in the promotion and strengthening of world peace through the adoption of different instruments, laws and resolutions. Some States and stakeholders were promoting the adoption by the Human Rights Council and General Assembly of a new instrument on the right to peace.

Despite the past debate, there is not a single binding treaty providing for an enforceable human right to peace and several States still claim that there is no such right in customary international law. Not only is the global order lacking an instrument defining the human right to peace but individuals also do not have a forum where their right to peace can be enforced.

Codifying the human right to peace as an enforceable right would not only bridge several fields of law, preventing the fragmentation of international law but it will also strengthen the enforcement of several notoriously violated provisions of international law.

Crimes against peace

Prosecution of crimes against peace was at the forefront of international criminal justice when World War II was over. However, the early enthusiasm of the global community to work on a statute of a permanent international criminal court was overshadowed by the geopolitical reality of the Cold War and States realized very fast how sensitive any progressive development in this regard can be for their key interests.

Despite many ambitious drafts throughtout the drafting history of the Rome Statute criminalizing also the threat to commit aggression and intervention in domestic affairs, only a single crime criminalizing the commission of an act of aggression made it into the Rome Statute and even that one, the crime of aggression, was accompanied by complicated negotiations in Rome and Kampala.

Criminalization of a threat or use of force, intervention in domestic affairs and many other threats to international peace would strengthen the enforcement of international law and contribute to a more peaceful world.

About the global advocacy programme

The global advocacy programme aims to take the debate a step forward and with like-minded States, initiate the work on domestic, regional and international instruments that would codify the human right to peace and crimes against peace.

The programme wants to revive the work in the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on the human right to peace and initiate the work in the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court on crimes against peace, bringing the perspective of young leaders into the discussion.

The global advocacy programme has been awarded the best youth project from Europe award at the Intergenerational forum on peace, the climate, nuclear disarmament and the pandemic (PACEY), held on 19 January 2021.

Global Coalition of Youth Ambassadors for the Right to Peace

Youth movements have shown that they can change the world. From turning the American public against the Vietnam war, standing for their rights in Tiananmen Square to revolutionary activism in Arab Spring and fighting for environmental protection, young people have always gathered for a greater good.

The Global Coalition of Youth Ambassadors for the Right to Peace is a global network of young leaders who are campaigning for strengthening the human right to peace and crimes against peace in the global order. With each State represented with its Youth Ambassador, the Global Coalition wants to promote its Youth Declaration on the Right to Peace and be heard in every State, on every continent, in all national, regional and global institutions. The Youth Declaration will be open for signature from States’ representatives, serving as their pledge to codify and progressively develop the human right to peace and crimes against peace in domestic and international affairs.

National and continental campaigns

Youth Ambassadors will lead the national campaigns in their home States, raising awareness about the need to strengthen the domestic and international order with the human right to peace and crimes against peace and building public pressure to adopt domestic instruments on this matter. For this purpose, a dialogue between Youth Ambassadors and leaders of their States is essential. Youth Ambassadors will hold public talks with representatives of their governments to initiate public discussion on the matter, bridge the differencies, understand the opposition to the implementation of the human right to peace and crimes against peace and partner with States’ representatives from like-minded States to further the cause.

Youth Ambassadors in continental working groups will also campaign in regional organizations for further codification and implementation of the human right to peace and crimes against peace. This will not only involve public talks with representatives of these organizations but also regional conferences to discuss such an implementation in the legal order.

International campaigns

In 2021, the Global Coalition will launch with the support of like-minded States a global campaign at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to promote the adoption of crimes against peace in the legal framework of the Rome Statute, building on the crime of aggression and expanding the category of crimes against peace further. The Global Coalition will also aim for the adoption by the Assembly of States Parties of a resolution declaring the crime of aggression as a violation of the victims’ right to peace.

From 2022, the international engagement of the Global Coalition will focus on the revival of the work in the UN Human Rights Council, building upon the previous Council’s work on this matter.

The Global Coalition will also launch with the support of like-minded States a global campaign at the UN General Assembly to adopt on 21 September 2023, the International Day of Peace, a request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the existence of a rule of customary international law on the human right to peace and its substance. With the division among States on the existence of this right in customary international law, an advisory opinion from the World Court will give a definite answer and clarify the law in many aspects.

Permanent People’s Tribunal for the Right to Peace

Provided that a request for an advisory opinion is not secured in the UN General Assembly, the Global Coalition will establish on 10 December 2023, the Human Rights Day, the Permanent People’s Tribunal for the Right to Peace, the first People’s Tribunal founded by a youth movement. People’s Tribunals are independent, grassroots movements created by members of civil society, to address impunity in cases when the established mechanisms fail to deliver justice to victims.

The Tribunal will be composed of respected scholars and practitioners and will make a pronouncement on the existence of the human right to peace in customary international law. The Tribunal will also provide a forum where States’ commitment to global peace will be examined on a permanent basis by the Tribunal’s review.

Youth Ambassadors for the Right to Peace will be involved in the pleadings against their governments, representing the global youth disatisfied with the efforts of their governments.

Patrons of our global advocacy programme

Patrons are experienced peace activists, diplomats, policymakers, politicians, scholars, senior professionals and public figures who have endorsed our global advocacy programme. Their valuable insights will be shared in series of webinars where they present their position on the need to strengthen the human right to peace and crimes against peace in global affairs.

Every generation has its titans of fighting for peace and justice and we want to share their inspiring stories and involve them in our global talks on the human right to peace and crimes against peace.

The list of patrons and our webinar series with patrons will be revealed soon!

Become the Youth Ambassador for the Right to Peace

Deadline to apply: 30 June 2021

Eligibility criteria

  • age 18-35
  • citizenship of one of the UN member states or non-member observer states

Selection criteria

  • record of activities in the State of citizenship in the area of law, human rights, peace activism, climate change activism, advocacy for legislative changes
  • general knowledge of UN affairs, human rights and/or international justice
  • strong motivation to lead national campaigns and be part of a global movement

How to apply

  1. Download the application form.
  2. Fill in the application form using any freely available tool for opening and filling in PDF documents (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader). The form can be saved and opened multiple times without losing any content.
  3. Save the application form in the following name format: Name.Surname
  4. Send the application form by email with the subject “Youth Ambassador for the Right to Peace_X” (with X indicating the State you would like to represent) to: recruitment@peacehumanity.org

For enquiries please contact office@peacehumanity.org