The 20th century has been the bloodiest, most war-filled age in history. Yet, it has also been a time of hope and change. Real progress toward peace has been made through international efforts to promote human rights, preserve the environment, foster equitable and sustainable development, and rid the world of dangerous weapons like anti-personnel landmines. Now, we are on the eve of a new century. 1999 marks the 100th anniversary of the First International Peace Conference at the Hague. 1999 is the final year in the UN Decade of International Law. And, in 1999 governments and the International Committee of the Red Cross will meet to review the progress we have made in the last century. We must take this historic opportunity to launch a new century of peace.
The Hague Appeal for Peace creates new partnerships between citizens, governments, and international organizations; this “new diplomacy”; will help us progress toward peace.
Together, we strive to delegitimize armed conflict and create a culture of peace for the 21st century. The four main themes of the campaign define its main goals:
- International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and Institutions;
- Conflict Prevention and Regulation;
- Disarmament and Human Security;
- Root Causes of War / Culture of Peace.
Civil Society held the largest international peace conference in history on May 11-15, 1999. Nearly 10,000 activists, government representatives and community leaders from over 100 countries attended the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands. During the four day gathering participants discussed and debated in over 400 panels, workshops and round tables mechanisms for abolishing war and creating a culture of peace in the 21st century. Participants included representatives from 80 governments and international organizations, and hundreds of civil society leaders. including: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Queen Noor of Jordan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Arundhati Roy of India, Jose Ramos Horta from East Timor, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala,and Jody Williams from the Landmines Campaign.
This Hague Appeal Conference was even more significant because unlike the UN global summits of the past decade, this conference was organized entirely by civil society, not governments. The UN did not receive the governmental support needed to convene a global summit on peace. So, We the peoples organized it ourselves. The Hague conference proved to governments that civil society is serious, desperate, and fed up with war.
- 1500 youth participants showed us the peace movement is alive and kicking, producing a great Youth Agenda for Peace and Justice;
- Kashmiris, Indians and Pakistanis reached an unprecedented peace agreement on Kashmir;
- Ethiopians and Eritreans held a dialogue on the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict;
- Young people from Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus wrote a 4 page “Timetable for Peace in Cyprus” action-plan;
- Sports was proven to be a powerful medium for promoting peace and friendship in “basketball diplomacy” – a 3 day tournament in which the Californian youth team of Athletes United for Peace played local Dutch youth teams;
- Six Nobel Peace prize winners participated in the conference, as well as HM Queen Noor of Jordan, heads of UNICEF, UNESCO, UNIFEM and the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan. Messages of support were sent from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (via video) Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel;
- Two prime ministers, a deputy prime minister, two foreign ministers and ambassadors spoke and PM Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh agreed to mail the Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century to heads of state around the world;
- The Hague Agenda has been submitted as a UN document, has been translated into all UN languages, and will be formally presented to the Fall 1999 UN General Assembly.
The Conference launched The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the Twenty-first Century. This Agenda is a compilation of the most important “next steps” that must be taken, with strategies for implementation, to delegitimize war and create a culture of peace.
The following key actions were also highlighted at the Hague. The coalitions supporting these actions are looking for new partners to join their global networks.
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is a global network of NGOs dedicated to preventing the proliferation and unlawful use of small arms by pushing forward the boundaries for international action. IANSA was formed following a series of national, regional and two international NGO consultations over the past 18 months which concluded with an agreement to establish this network.
For more information about how you can get involved, please contact: Peter van Kemseke, Website: www.iansa.org, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Campaign for Peace Education. A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems; have the skills to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice non-violently; live by international standards of human rights and equity; appreciate cultural diversity; and respect the Earth. Such learning can only be achieved with systematic education for peace.
To find out more information about how you can get involved, email email@example.com
International Criminal Court – Global Ratification Campaign
On July 17, 1998, the international community adopted in an unrecorded vote of 120-7 the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC will be the first permanent international court for adjudicating the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, and its creation constitutes one of the greatest advances in the rule of law and protection of human rights since the adoption of the UN Charter. The ICC will be formally established once 60 countries have ratified the Rome Statute.
To find out how to become involved in the campaign in your country or region, please contact the CICC secretariat in New York (212-687-2176), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the CICC website at http://www.iccnow.org
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
As of mid-March 1999, the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty had a total of 135 signatories and 68 ratifications and had entered into force faster than any other major international humanitarian law or disarmament treaty. This was due in no small part to intensive lobbying by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). But just as the ICBL did not stop its work after the signing ceremony in December 1997, it will not stop now that the ban on antipersonnel mines is law. Next steps in the ICBL include universalization, ratification and, of course, IMPLEMENTATION of this treaty.
For more information, please contact: ICBL, PO Box 8844, Youngstorget, Oslo 0028 Norway, Tel: 18.104.22.1680 Fax: 22.214.171.1240, Email: resource @icbl.org, http://www.icbl.org
In June, 1998, the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) which includes seven courageous governments – Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden-challenged the Nuclear Weapons States to implement several immediate practical steps, including de-alerting all nuclear forces. They presented their agenda in a UN resolution, which was adopted December 1998 by 114 votes to 18.
For more information, please contact: International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, Email: email@example.com
Global Action to Prevent War
Global Action to Prevent War is a comprehensive, multi-stage program for moving toward a world in which armed conflict is rare. No more Kosovos! No more Rwandas!
We urge groups and individuals who want to learn more about Global Action or to join efforts on any part of its broad spectrum of activities to attend one of our discussion sessions listed in this program.
For more information contact the Global Action International Network, at www.idds.org, or to reach us by fax 617-354-1450, or e-mail: info @ globalactionpw.org.
Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers was formed in May 1998 by leading international Non-Governmental Organisations (NG0s) seeking an end to the military recruitment and use as soldiers of all children under 18 years of age, whether by governmental armed forces or armed opposition groups.
For more information contact Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, email: firstname.lastname@example.org;, Website: www.child-soliders.org, Tel: 33.450.32.8956;, Fax: 33.450.44.2840.