The UN Working Group on the Right to Peace continues to be defined by a lack of progress, with civil society organizations requesting the full recognition of the human right to peace in the draft declaration and asking States to finalize the drafting process.
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On Friday, 24 April, the sessions of the Working Group came to an end with the Chairperson-Rapporteur’s announcement of his resignation, due to the lack of progress in the codification process of the draft declaration which himself had submitted to the Working Group, guided by the consensus rule.
Indeed, under the direction of the Chairperson-Rapporteur, the Working Group spent the five days of debate drafting the preambular paragraphs of the draft declaration, and discussing proposals of little interest, which were only accepted by consensus. In practice, if a single State disagreed, the proposal was immediately refused, being equivalent to the exercise of a de facto veto right.
At the last moment, after holding private consultations with States representatives, the Chairperson-Rapporteur submitted to the consideration of the Working Group a new draft declaration composed of the preambular paragraphs negotiated during the week, some new preambular paragraphs proposed by the Chair, and the four paragraphs of the operative part proposed by the Chair at the beginning of the debates on Monday 20 April 2015, which were never discussed. The new draft did not recognize the human right to peace, since Article 1 just affirmed that “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that security is maintained, all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized”.
Some States expressed reservations about some paragraphs of the preamble of the new draft submitted by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. Reservations were also expressed in relation to the operative part of the draft declaration, since it was not submitted to discussion.
Some States also spoke against the immediate resignation of the Chairperson-Rapporteur, asking him to submit to the 29th session of the Human Rights Council (June 2015) the report of the third session of the Working Group, attaching to it the last draft declaration (incomplete) proposed by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. The report could be adopted ad referendum by the States in the following days.
The civil society organizations following the session of the Working Group took the floor several times to request the full recognition of the human right to peace in the draft declaration and to ask the States to finalize the drafting process.
Besides, the SSIHRL, on behalf of the 65 CSO having signed the joint statements submitted on 20 and 23 April 2015, denounced once again the alleged bounties of the consensus rule, requested the respect of the usual procedural rules within the Human Rights Council (majority), and recalled the original mandate of the Working Group, as follows: drafting the United Nations declaration on the right to peace, on the basis of the draft
submitted in 2012 by the Advisory Committee. The new declaration should have a normative dimension, spelling out the essential elements of the human right to peace, with a view to overcoming the declarations adopted by the General Assembly in 1978 and 1984 on the right to peace, of a political dimension.
Therefore, the SSIHRL considers that the consensus rule proposed by the Chairperson-Rapporteur and some Western States was exhausted. Consequently, it will request the Human Rights Council in June 2015 to renew the mandate of the Working Group on the same terms as it was established in 2012.
Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law. International Observatory of the Human Right to Peace.