‘Let us make a world of peace for our future generations’
Participants at the yearly Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) held in Seoul on March, 14.
The first yearly Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) held on March, 14, when 1800 participants gathered in Seoul for Advocacy of International Law for Peace. Faced with the reality of uncertainty in global cooperation, triggered by a chain of political upheavals from the Brexit to elections in the United States and European states, a new approach to pursue an international peaceful order was discussed.
In commemoration of the DPCW proclaimed on the same date in 2016, the forum reaffirmed the importance of global peace movement currently on progress under the Legislate Peace Campaign to establish the principle of international law for peace through the introduction of a UN resolution based on the DPCW.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL emphasized that peace building “is not an individual task,” but “is relevant to everyone” as a common purpose of the global community. He offered the role of religion as a bridge builder of peace, rather than the core of conflict and violence by adding “our orientations must be one for peace. Whether religious, secular world, there is no exception.”
In the progress report, Dong Min Im, the secretary general of HWPL, explained the significance of peace projects in HWPL by saying, “The work is to put an end to war in our globe and make a foundation of a world of everlasting peace, which is unprecedented in history.” He continued, “The solution to peace is all of us becoming messengers of peace.”
Bup Hye Kim, chairman of Buddhist Central Council for National Unification, offered a picture of concrete action plans of HWPL in achieving peace. “Youth and women are the main scapegoats in war, but even in this reality we must face the fact that youth and women are voluntarily standing at the forefront to build the foundation of peace with HWPL,” he said.
The Legislate Peace Campaign to receive the public’s attention
HWPL, IWPG and IPYG, Marching of Peace
250,000 unite to voice their positive demands for peace by adding their signatures
Seoul, Republic of Korea – The World Peace Gate in Seoul’s Olympic Park is expected to be filled with vibrant young people from all across Korea and from overseas for the upcoming 3rd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace and Peace Walk on 25 May 2016.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a UN DPI registered non-governmental organization, will host the event in Seoul together with the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG).
Ecuador Earthquake Relief Donation Booths will be set up to call for united actions among youth to care for people of Ecuador in their time of need.
Just last year, over 200,000 people showed their commitment for peace by participating in HWPL peace walks in 50 cities held in 30 countries simultaneously, igniting the flame of peace in the hearts of many.
This year’s commemorative event is expected to host more than 250,000 people from across the globe.
The event will highlight the global peace advocacy movement, the Legislate Peace Campaign, recently launched to bring all wars to an end by establishing an enforceable law compatible with the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Drafted by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee and proclaimed on March 14th this year the DPCW has steadily received the public’s attention.
It represents the voices of all those yearning for peace and urges States to protect their citizen’s rights to enjoy peaceful lives.
The Legislate Peace Campaign calls on global citizens to unite as one to voice their positive demands for peace by adding their signatures.
World leaders and governments are also being called on to make and enforce a national law based on the principles of the DPCW.
Many heads of state have written letters of support for the DPCW and over 190,000 signatures from 152 countries have been collected through on and offline platforms worldwide in less than two months.
Marking the 3rd anniversary of its proclamation, the Declaration of World Peace has seen its fruit through the DPCW as the document states: “Of what use is a young life, born in our day and age, if it is thrown away in this manner – thrown away without having had a chance to bloom? What price can compensate for the loss of a life? … In whatever way you can, we ask that you work to further the cause of world peace and restoration, making it a reality in your direct environments.”
In hundreds of cities, including Sydney, New York City, Manila, Shanghai, Cape Town and Oakland; youth, women, and all citizens will march for peace, replacing a culture of war with a culture of peace.
Moving forward – International law experts modify the draft convention on the cessation of war
To fundamentally resolve international armed conflicts, HWPL invited international law experts, as suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee, and presented the Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflicts, which was drafted by members of the HWPL Peace Advisory Council. Through discussion and modification by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, the draft convention will be improved into a complete and applicable international convention. Furthermore, HWPL aims to send the final convention to heads of state around the world and have it ratified, and to go through the deliberative process of the UN so that the convention will be fully adopted and implemented. Also, it was proposed that UN agencies should monitor and oversee the enforcement of the convention by each state. The convention will include provisions on inter-religious conflict as well.
Group for world peace, photo of all attendees
At the afternoon session of the international law conference, Chairman Lee emphasized that “our future generations can inherit peace only if the international law experts do their part,” and further requested them to “make good laws to make the world a better place.” Moved by Chairman Lee’s earnest appeal, the international law experts suggested setting a specific schedule for drafting and finalizing the convention.
1. -Launching the HWPL International Law Peace Committee
This day, twelve international law experts including Dr. Fathi Kemicha (former member of the UN International Law Commission), Prof. Ibrahim Aljazy (President of the International Law Association, Jordanian Branch, and former Minister of State for Legal Affairs of Jordan), and Prof. Enver Hasani (former President of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo) were appointed as members of the HWPL International Law Peace Committee. They pledged to work together for the implementation of an international convention on the cessation of war. As the first step for this purpose, the participants discussed practical ways to draft the most essential provisions based on the draft convention that HWPL prepared in advance.
2. Inter-religious conference for resolving religious conflict
During the HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Presentation Meeting and Religious Leaders’ Conference, the role that religious people hold in the peace movement and the current state of the religious world were addressed. The HWPL WARP Office is a gathering of religious leaders and scholars where they study religious texts and realize that peace can be achieved in the religious world only through religious unity and the answer to peace is within the Creator who gives life to this earth. To find that answer along with people of all religious backgrounds, HWPL began to hold dialogue sessions at HWPL WARP Offices for comparing religious texts. As of September 11th 2015, 104 offices have been established in 53 countries. This day’s session stressed the role and importance of religious figures in achieving world peace and further instilled in each participant a sense of responsibility and commitment to world peace through the unity of religions.
3. Establishing roles of the youth and women in the direction of the implementation process of the international convention
Chairman ManHeeLee addressed the importance of the youth and women in the implementation of the international convention on the cessation of war. He stressed that they should raise their voices to monitor the implementation process of the convention. For this purpose, the IWPG and IPYG presented the Statement to Urge for the Implementation of an International Convention on the Cessation of War, which all participants signed to strengthen their determination. A worldwide online signature campaign will be launched soon as a means of implementing and expanding the project. Ms. Nam Hee Kim, the chairwoman of the IWPG, said in her speech that, “When the ability of international law experts, heavenly wisdom of HWPL, and work of the youth and women come together, all wars on earth will be brought to an end. Along with all women of the world, members of the IWPG will support the work of international law experts.”
4. Discussing the mission of journalists for peace
A total of 17 journalists from 13 media organizations in 14 countries attended the 1st Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit. During the press conference on the 17th and HWPL Media Forum on the 18th, they shared the publicity work they have done as HWPL Publicity Ambassadors and discussed the mission of journalists in achieving peace. The journalists in attendance, who swiftly deliver the news of peace to the world, said that issues that the media of each country face should be resolved for such good news to be spread more widely. Also, they brought up the necessity of creating various TV and radio programs to arouse the youth’s interest in peace. Furthermore, they suggested that media coverage on international law that the public can easily understand is needed.
For the 1st Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit, high-tech filming equipment including helicopter cameras were used to broadcast historical moments where prominent leaders discussed world peace, enabling over 30,000 people in 60 countries to watch them live online. On the 19th, the last day of the event, “Inside WARP Summit,” a newsletter that introduces about the programs of the first day, was provided to each participant and delivered the news regarding the opening ceremony and each session. This event was more than just an international peace conference; it was a harmonious combination of culture and technology that took the cultural events to the next level.
Philippines Moro Islamic Liberation Front Begin Laying Down Arms -Peace News-
COTABATO CITY, PHILIPPINES— Muslim Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines have started the process of laying down their arms as part of a one-year-old peace pact that is currently hitting snags in the country’s legislature.
A reading from the Quran greeted the 145 fighters who filed into a muggy gymnasium and sat at a row of computer terminals manned by government workers. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) were here to officially start the integration into society of more than 10,000 of their ranks.
Jacob Palao, 66, was one of the first in line. During 41 years of fighting he became a deputy commander in the operations section of the Front’s armed forces.
He said, “Right now I feel like if the government fulfills its end, then we will be happy. We in the MILF have fulfilled our end in our talks and we followed our leadership.”
Palao says apart from turning over the arms, he signed up for help to start a business since that was what he studied before he joined the fight against government.
Officials say the weapons are high-powered and fully functioning, coming “directly from the ground.” They say the decommissioning process is being funded with $53 million that is being dispersed throughout various government departments that will serve the rebels. They include the Education, Social Welfare and Development and Skills Training Departments.
MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim called the ceremonial laying down of arms the start of a transformation for the rebels from a fighting entity to a political organization ready to carryout self-governance.
“This is also about the transformation of the Philippines to become more just, more inclusive, and to granting space to the Bangsamoro people to direct our lives as we want it, in accordance with our deepest spiritual values,” said Murad Ebrahim.
The rebels’ battle for self-determination has left more than 120,000 dead and displaced millions. The MILF had been in on-and-off negotiations with the government for 17 years before both sides signed a comprehensive pact last year.
Under terms of the agreement, an autonomous region called the Bangsamoro would be formed in part of Mindanao Island in the country’s Muslim-majority south. But lawmakers are questioning the constitutionality of a proposed law that would create the area and some want to scrap it altogether.
Asking for ‘a decent and peaceful life’
In a speech at the decommissioning ceremony, President Benigno Aquino said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were showing their sincerity by turning over their arms. He says they are simply asking for “a decent and peaceful life,” which is “what every Filipino desires.”
“We also need to admit that we have had our own shortcomings. It is not written in our religion or laws that we should perpetuate the ills of the past. Today, we are given a new opportunity to right the wrongs, and I ask: Will we walk away now?” said he.
Aquino said he is investing his time in meetings with Congress to try to refine the so-called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and iron out concerns. Many express concern that the proposed law will be watered down from what was originally submitted. Cardinal Orlando Quevedo who heads the Catholic Archdiocese in Cotabato says at the very least the measure should remain in its original form so it can be vetted properly in the Supreme Court.
Baina Samayatin who heads the non-profit Moro Women’s Development and Cultural Center in Cotabato attended the decommissioning ceremony. She said now that the weapons turnover has started, families of the fighters are sad.
“They are just not so sure, especially since we don’t know the situation with the BBL. So there’s a fear that it will be scrapped… of course it has to pass otherwise there might be war again,” said Samayatin.
After the ceremony MILF Chair Murad told reporters if the Basic Law does not pass, it will stop the decommissioning process. He did not say whether there would be a return to arms.
The weapons are being stored in a locked container van, with two layers of fencing. The third-party Independent Decommissioning Body, made up of representatives from Turkey, Brunei, Norway, the MILF and the government, is verifying and monitoring the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and keeping a 24-hour watch of the weapons.
HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee World Peace Tour, Since Then,,, Peace News: decommissioning in the Philippines
SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao, Philippines – The turnover of weapons by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should give the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) a much-needed boost, President Aquino said.
The President was here to witness the turnover of assorted firearms by the MILF to an independent decommissioning body in accordance with conditions set in the initial peace agreement between the government and the Muslim rebel group.
It was Aquino’s first time to set foot in Maguindanao since the Jan. 25 killing of 44 police Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano by MILF guerrillas.
The President, in a speech, rallied public support for the BBL, saying such would be an articulation of Filipino Muslims’ dream of leading peaceful and normal lives.
He also appealed to detractors of the BBL to reconsider their stand on the controversial measure.
“This is why today is truly historic. Years ago, an armed group that had long been fighting with government laying down its arms was a pipe dream,” he said.
He said the MILF gesture was not merely ceremonial, as the weapons surrendered were of the “highest grade” that “can cause – and have truly already caused – extreme suffering.”
Aquino delivered his speech at the old Maguindanao provincial capitol in Simuay town.
The United Kingdom, through British Charge d’Affaires Trevor Lewis, welcomed the development.
“The decommissioning of 50 high-powered and 25 crew-mounted weapons, and transition to civilian life of 145 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, is a significant and welcome step in the peace process,” Lewis said.
“As with any peace process, the process of normalization is linked to political milestones, the next of which will be the passage of legislation to make the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro a reality,” he added.
Aquino, in his speech, said the Muslim rebels’ gesture “is the concrete proof of their sincerity” to adhere to the peace process.
“Our brothers are voluntarily laying down their arms. They are fully aware of the threats to their own safety brought about by private armed groups, but they are doing this nonetheless; they are telling us: ‘Brother, this weapon that I used to defend myself, I no longer need it. I wholeheartedly entrust my safety to you. Brother, I lay these weapons down today, because I believe that, like me, you are determined to transform our society and our very lives’,” the President said.
He also called the turnover of the weapons “a solid testament to the unreserved and honest participation” of the MILF in the peace process” and to its readiness to abandon violence.
♣ Potshots at critics
Aquino said it was unfortunate that some “esteemed lawmakers” responded to the peace invitation by calling for a halt to the BBL.
“Instead of asking: ‘How can I improve the BBL so that it may effectively address the grievances of our countrymen,’ it appears they ask, ‘How can I stop or block the passage of this bill?’” the President said.
Aquino said every Filipino should ask himself whether it would be good to step back from the path to peace without bothering his conscience.
“If there are 10 steps between us, steps we must take to become closer to one another, and they have already taken nine and a half steps – would you still deprive them of that last half-step?”
He said those subverting peace would have to answer for the consequence. “If, in obstructing the best solution, you arrive at the point in which your family is affected, would you be able to face them and say, ‘Sorry, this happened because I kept us from realizing peace’.”
He said there is no point clinging to “baseless fears” and “unfounded suspicion” as turning back for such reason would be like changing your mind on your wedding day or quitting the Boston marathon upon approaching Heartbreak Hill.
The President said the truth is that Muslim Filipinos were not asking for something unreasonable as they, like what every Filipino desires, only want decent and peaceful lives.
“We also need to admit that we have had our own shortcomings. It is not written in our religion or laws that we should perpetuate the ills of the past,” he said.
Saying he is “personally investing” time and effort for the BBL, Aquino revealed a “meeting of the minds” with lawmakers to resolve some concerns. The meeting, he said, lasted until the next morning. “What we want is to truly refine this law.”
♣ Speak up for BBL
In his speech, Aquino sought the people’s help in repaying the trust that the MILF had shown by taking the difficult step of laying down arms and getting decommissioned.
“Here, I remember the words of the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis: ‘First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me,’” Aquino said.
“Indeed: When you allow the rights of others to be abused, is it not true that you agree to the perpetuation of this cycle, until the day comes when you yourself may become a victim of it.”
The President said the MILF’s gesture was something many Filipinos could not have imagined.
“I believe that the process will only become easier from this point… Let us strive to reach the point in which we can say: We truly gave them every opportunity to change their lives and to reach their dreams,” he said.
Aquino said blocking the passage of BBL would be “willfully” depriving Mindanao Muslims of “what should be theirs” and “ensuring that they have no opportunity to uplift themselves.”
He added that junking the BBL is “guaranteeing that they will never lay down their arms and leave conflict and struggle behind. That is the equivalent of opposing the BBL.”
He said detractors of the BBL cannot claim to be advocates of peace. “It is as if you are still not content with making the law pass through the eyes of nine needles, that you will add a tenth and an eleventh; it is as if you have no other goal than to ensure that there is no space for peace,” he said.
Aquino reminded the nation that the conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced scores of others.
“If you will not side with peace, how many more will lose their loved ones? How many more communities will find themselves trapped in the crossfire, lacking security? How many who are already suffering will suffer even more? How long before conflict knocks on your door, and involves even your family?” he said.
“We cannot deny: We have a debt to our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro. Now, we have the chance to right the narrative of suffering together,” he pointed out. “Though we may come from different contexts and hold different beliefs, because we have been brought together by trust and by care for one another, there is no challenge that we cannot surpass as one nation.”
♣ No military solution
The Chief Executive also stressed that a military solution would never bring peace and development in Mindanao but would only complicate matters like what happened before.
The President explained that violence in Mindanao was sparked by conflict over land as opportunists took advantage of the uneducated landowners.
“This was what prompted our Moro brothers to fight for what was justly theirs. My question: if abuse of the law was the root of the problem, is it not appropriate that the solution be a law that recognizes the rights and the culture of our Muslim brothers and sisters? It would have been more appropriate if the government’s response to our countrymen’s plea back then had been something akin to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, which we now have,” he said.
After decades of armed conflict, he said no less than the Armed Forces of the Philippines has realized and declared that the solution to the conflict would need a “whole-of-government approach.”
“We need legitimate responses to legitimate grievances; we need to help our brothers and sisters in the margins to achieve true justice,” Aquino said.
The President also emphasized the need for confidence building measures to make a peace accord acceptable to everyone.
He recalled the example of former military chief Emmanuel Bautista whose father – also a military general – was killed by Muslim rebels who had tricked him into attending a supposed peace negotiation.
“In such a situation, how will we reach an agreement acceptable to all when the negotiators themselves do not trust each other? I was even of the notion that a true dialogue would only be possible after multiple generations,” Aquino said.
“In fact, one of the proposals was to have an exchange of students. There would be students from Mindanao who will study in Luzon and the Visayas; and there would be students from Luzon and the Visayas who would study in Mindanao,” he added.
“This is a long process, and it is likely that the results will not be witnessed by people my age,” he said.
♣ Proof of sincerity
By laying down its arms – though symbolically – the MILF has proven its sincerity and commitment to lasting peace, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman said.
“Today, we will witness the Moro Islamic Liberation Front symbolically lay down their arms to show their commitment to establishing a lasting peace in Mindanao. This is the act of peace, the show of sincerity in the peace process, that we have all been waiting for from the MILF and the government,” Hataman said before the ceremonial turnover of assorted MILF weapons to an independent decommissioning body.
He called the President’s visit to Sultan Kudarat, his third as Chief Executive, the “most historic.”
“The MILF will beat swords to ploughshares as soldiers will begin to bring life to the land instead of taking from it,” he said.
“Today, mothers will begin to send their children to school again without fear, and welcome them home happily. Today, children will start learning to be children, and hope never to learn about war again,” Hataman said.
“We silence the guns today and our voices will drown the songs of war; our voice will echo the calls for peace. We have been doing so for the past 17 years, culminating in a document we now know as the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he said.
“This law, the fruit of many legal minds, both Moro and non-Moro, will be the rock on which lasting peace and eventual economic progress in Mindanao can be built,” the governor said.
He said the BBL has undergone difficult times and is poised for an “obstacle race” in the Senate.
“We pray that this race will soon end and the BBL be hailed as victorious,” Hataman said.
He also lauded the government and the MILF peace panels for vigorously pushing for peace amid an environment of distrust. “The President, who has been its champion since its inception, will do everything possible for the BBL to come to fruition.”
♣ Lawmakers elated
For some congressmen, yesterday’s development may be the start of lasting peace in Mindanao.
“This is a very welcome development for me as a member of Congress tackling the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and personally as a Mindanaonon,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the House ad hoc committee on the BBL, said.
“The beginning of the decommissioning process is concrete proof of the strong commitment of the MILF to end armed conflict in the south,” he said.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal said the start of the MILF decommissioning shows the group’s resolve to participate in elections if the draft BBL is passed.
“There is perhaps no greater proof that the MILF is sincere in its efforts to begin peace-building with the government than this decision to voluntarily turn over their arms and weapons,” he said.
He said the disbanding of MILF forces would be gradual, “but we are confident there is no stopping this process in the coming months.”
“I hope that Congress moves with urgency on the proposed BBL because the decommissioning process will move much faster with the passage and ratification of the bill, and combatants on the ground will be able to return to civilian lives much sooner,” he added.
Sulu Rep. Tupay Loong said the MILF’s decision to begin decommissioning “is a clear message to both the Senate and the House of Representatives that it is a trustworthy partner in the peace talks.”
“We should all understand the security situation. There are still other armed groups with weapons on the ground, yet the MILF is already willing to begin decommissioning for the sake of peace in Mindanao,” he said.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, for his part, said the decommissioning process “must be thorough and swift,” in order “for the people to really trust the MILF.”
He said the current disarmament process is slow and would likely be overtaken by the passage of the BBL.
He said if the government and MILF schedules will be followed, the rebel group will have over 35 percent of its declared weapons with them and intact when the new region is established. With Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero, Jose Rodel Clapano, Edith Regalado, Pia Lee-Brago, John Unson.
The capital will be held tomorrow race in “Sport Belarus”
The competition will begin at 10 am at the Independence Square. In the run will take part as ordinary citizens, as well as celebrities. And yesterday Belarusians declared themselves in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. There was a walking marathon called “World Peace and rebirth.” In the Olympic Park gathered 27,000 people from around the world. Walking Marathon divided into 7 sections. Each represented the seven continents of the world and its way of a call for world peace.
If we don’t end war, war will end us!!
So, we must make peace!
We must make world peace!
Before we are all eaten by this war~!!