Women, Human Rights & Peace
What are the Human Rights pertaining to Armed Conflict?
What is the Human Right to Peace?
The human right of every woman, man, youth and child to peace and the absence of conflict 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. In turn, enduring peace will be attained only when people's fundamental human rights are fulfilled.
The Human Rights at Issue
Human Rights relating to poverty are set out in basic human rights
treaties and include:
The human right to peace is inextricably linked to all other human rights -- rights that are universal, indivisible, interconnected and interdependent. Human rights relating to peace are set out in basic human rights treaties and include:
- The human right to life.
- The human right to freedom from violence, 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 freedom from religious intolerance.
- The human right to freedom from foreign occupation or domination.
- The human right to self-determination of peoples.
- The human right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
- 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 an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, medical care and necessary social services.
- The human right to sustainable development.
- 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:
What provisions of human right law guarantee everyone the Human Right to Peace?
Includes excerpts from the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 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 Article 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
- "States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue ... a policy of eliminating discrimination against women and ... undertake: ... to refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act in conformity with this obligation; to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise; to take all appropriate measures ... to modify or abolish existing laws, ... customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women...."
- --Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Article 2
- "... 'torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as ... intimidating or coercing him ... or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.... Each State Party shall take effective ... measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.... Each State Party shall undertake to prevent ... other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment...."
- -- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Articles 1, 2, and 16
- "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...."
- -- 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 group...."
- --Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the 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:
What commitments have governments made to ensuring the realization of the Human Right to Peace?
Includes commitments made at the Earth Summit in Rio, the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and the Habitat II conference in Istanbul.
- "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
- "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 and 28
- "Excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures and arms trade..., and investments for arms production and acquisition have reduced the resources available for social development.... Actions to be taken: ... Increase... 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
- "Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall ... 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 25
- "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 means...."
- --Copenhagen Declaration,para. 5 and Commitment 1(h)
- "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, para. 70
- "Civil, ethnic and religious strife, violations of human rights, alien ... domination, foreign occupation, economic imbalances, poverty, ... terrorism in all its forms ... are destructive to human settlements and should ... be denounced ... 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;