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Group shot of students and  National Civil Service volunteers  of the University of Padua in Assisi, 18 October 2014.

A new phase of the Italian Campaign for the recognition of the Human Right to Peace begins in view of the upcoming fourth session of the UN Intergovernamental Working Group

The UN Intergovernamental Working Group, estabilished by the UN Human Rights Council with the task of preparing a UN Declaration on the human right to peace, will meet for its 4th session in Geneva, from 11 to 15 April 2016.

In view of the fourth session, a new phase of the Italian Campaign begins. The Campaign was launched in Italy by the Human Rights Centre of the University of Padova, the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights, Democracy and Peace and the National Coordinating-body of Local Authorities for Peace and Human Rights. The petitionary motions on the recognition of the right to peace adopted by over 200 municipalities and 5 regional Councils reached the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council and have progressively led to a deeper involvement of the Italian diplomatic mission at the UN. The Italian Campaign was appreciated for its novelty and content and played a strategic role in relaunching the activities of the Intergovernmental Group.

The Group should have completed its task at the 3rd session in 2015. However, the lack of consensus among members blocked the final decision on the draft Declaration, deprived of any reference to the “right to peace”. Therefore, the “minimalist” approach adopted by the former President-Rapporteur failed. The pressure of civil society and NGOs with consultative status at the UN contributed to the decision of organizing a new session.

Being aware that the upcoming fourth session of the Working Group has taken on a crucial decisive importance, the new phase of the Campaign requires all Italian municipalities and Regions involved to send a letter, prepared by the Human Rights Centre, to the members of the UN Human Rights Council. It asks them to make every effort to converge on a text which includes the explicit recognition of peace as a fundamental right of the human person and of the peoples following the content of Article 1 of the original draft Declaration submitted by the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council.