Human Rights, Peace, and Disarmament
What is the Human Right to Peace and Disarmament?
The human right of every woman, man, youth and child to peace and disarmament lies at the heart of the realization of
all human rights. War and violence result in the systemic and sweeping denial of civil and political rights, along
with economic, social, and cultural rights as scarce resources are expended on weapons and preparation for war.
Enduring peace will be attained only when all human rights are fulfilled.
The Human Rights at Issue
The human right of all persons to peace and disarmament is inextricably linked to all other human rights -- rights
that are universal, indivisible, interconnected and interdependent. The human right to peace and disarmament
The human right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment.
The human right to freedom from arbitrary executions, detention, and disappearance.
The human right to freedom from genocide, ethnic cleansing and rape as a strategy of war.
The human right to protection and assistance to displaced and refugee women.
The human right to live by the rule of law.
The human right to freedom from violence of all types, inside and outside the home.
The human right to freedom from sexual or racial discrimination.
The human right to equality between men and women and to full and equal partnership in the family and society.
The human right to freedom from poverty.
The human right to food, medical care and necessary social services.
The human right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being.
The human right to education.
The human right of the child to an environment appropriate for his or her physical, mental, spiritual and moral
well-being and development.
The human right of all people to full and equal participation in decision-making and efforts aimed at the prevention
and resolution of conflicts.
Governments' Obligations to Ensuring the Human Right to Peace and Disarmament
What provisions of human rights law guarantee everyone the Human Right to Peace and Disarmament?
Includes excerpts from the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide, and the Convention on the Rights
of the Child.
- "We the Peoples of the United Nations, Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,... to
reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights ..., to ... live together in peace ... and to unite our strength to
maintain international peace and security,... to ensure ... that armed force shall not be used, save in the common
interest ... have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.... The Purposes of the United Nations are
... To maintain international peace and security,... to take effective collective measures for the prevention and
removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to
bring about by peaceful means ... settlement of international disputes...."
- --UN Charter, Preamble and Art. 1
- "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.... No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.... Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary
social services.... Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which ... rights and freedoms ... can
be fully realized."
- --Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles
3, 4, 5, 25 and 28
- "Every human being has the inherent right to life.... No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.... Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.... Any propaganda
for war shall be prohibited by law. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement
to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."
- --International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, Articles 6, 7, 9, and 20
- "The States Parties ... recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his
family...; to ... physical and mental health...; to education....A
- --International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, Articles 11, 12 and 13
- "The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide ... is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent
and to punish. Genocide means ... acts committed with intent to destroy ... a national, ethnical, racial or religious
- --Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
Crime of Genocide, Articles 1 and 2
- "States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.... States Parties shall take all
appropriate ... measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence.... States Parties
recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.... to a standard of
living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.... to education.... No
child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.... States Parties
shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child
victim of ... torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment ... or armed conflicts...."
- --Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 6,
19, 24, 27, 28, 37 and 39
Governments' Commitments to Ensuring the Human Right to Peace and Disarmament
What commitments have governments made to ensuring the realization of the Human Right to Peace and Disarmament?
Includes commitments made at the Earth Summit in Rio,
the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, the
Habitat II conference in Istanbul.
- "Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law
providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict.... Peace, development and environmental
protection are interdependent and indivisible."
- --Rio Declaration, Principles 24 and
- "We share the conviction that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and
maintenance of peace and security within and among our nations. In turn, social development and social justice cannot
be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights .... We will ...
Promote international peace and security and make and support all efforts to settle international disputes by peaceful
- --Copenhagen Declaration, para. 5 and
- "There is ... an urgent need for ... recognizing and addressing the dangers to society of armed conflict, and the
negative effect of excessive military expenditures, trade in arms, especially of those arms that are particularly
injurious or have indiscriminate effects, and excessive investment for arms production and acquisition...."
- --Copenhagen Programme of Action,
- "Local, national, regional and global peace is attainable and is inextricably linked with the advancement of women,
who are a fundamental force for leadership, conflict resolution and the promotion of lasting peace at all levels ....
We are determined to ... take positive steps to ensure peace for the advancement of women and, recognizing the leading
role that women have played in the peace movement, work actively towards general and complete disarmament under strict
and effective international control, and support negotiations on the conclusion, without delay, of a universal and
multilaterally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty which contributes to nuclear
disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects...."
- --Beijing Declaration, paras. 18
- "The maintenance of peace and security at the global, regional and local levels, together with the prevention of
policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing and the resolution or armed conflict, is crucial for the protection of the
human rights of women and girl-children, as well as for the elimination of all forms of violence against them and of
their use as a weapon of war.... In a world of continuing instability and violence, the implementation of cooperative
approaches to peace and security is urgently needed...."
- --Beijing Platform for Action,
paras. 12 and 134
- "Excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures and arms trade or trafficking, and
investments for arms production and acquisition have reduced the resources available for social development....
Actions to be taken: ... Increase and hasten ... the conversion of military resources ... to development and peaceful
purposes.... Recognize and address the dangers to society of armed conflict and the negative effect of excessive
military expenditures, trade in arms, ... and excessive investment for arms production and acquisition...."
- --Beijing Platform for Action,
paras. 13 and 143
- "Civil, ethnic and religious strife, violations of human rights, alien and colonial domination, foreign occupation,
economic imbalances, poverty, ... terrorism in all its forms, and corruption are destructive to human settlements and
should ... be denounced and discouraged by all States, which should cooperate to achieve the elimination of such
practices and all ... measures impeding social and economic development.... We will reinforce peace by promoting
tolerance, non-violence and respect for diversity and by settling disputes by peaceful means.... We will promote
international peace and security and make ... all efforts to settle international disputes by peaceful means...."
- --Habitat Agenda, para. 25
For more information, please contact PDHRE
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office
Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director
526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325;