HWPL: International NGO advocate peace connecting states and citizens for peaceful development in Asia-Pacific
Based on South Korea where the recent scent of peace sprang out, HWPL as an international NGO associated with the UN ECOSOC has 3 unique approaches to peacebuilding – this includes the establishment of international law for peace to secure peace as a global norm, inter-religious dialogue to overcome ethnic and religious conflicts, and peace education that nurtures human character. In February, the discussion on international cooperation for peacebuilding by collaborative efforts from governments and civil society in Asia and Pacific – specifically in the Philippines, Australia, and Cambodia has been carried out by HWPL.
The Philippines - Hub of peacebuilding with the central role of civil society and nurturing peace education
On February 15, a peace festival named “We is One for Peace to Attain Sustainable Development” was held. Hosted by HWPL and Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), the 30,000 participants included governors, local political and ethnic leaders, university presidents and students, and NGO representatives to build an international association for peacebuilding and enhance the role of civil society.
HWPL has invested its efforts in interfaith communication and peace education for peace in Southeast Asia. On January 24, 2014, HWPL set up a peace agreement in Mindanao by mediating local leaders and civil society groups to overcome damages of the 50 years of conflict in the region. Since then, peace campaigns such as peace walk by youth, founding peace monuments, exhibitions in the museum and inter-faith dialogues continued to raise awareness of peace to citizens.
In 2016, 70 schools in Mindanao and HWPL signed MoUs to implement peace education for students. Along with MoUs with 189 institutions from 20 countries, HWPL established a partnership agreement with Commissioner of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to introduce curriculums of peace education in both state and local universities and colleges to expand the synergy of peacebuilding efforts between government and civil society in the Philippines.
“Promoting peace education through the CHED will affect many Philippine educational institutions and play a crucial role in promoting peace in the Philippines. It is expected to transform the Philippines into a society where people live in harmony and respect each other to attain sustainable peace,” said Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of CHED, as well as Chairman of VIP.
South Pacific – Initiating global cooperation for the establishment of international law for peace
Though not affected directly by wars, South Pacific has become the venue for regional cooperation for peace and stability as it faces newly emerging security factors – climate change, economic fluctuation, ethnic diversity, and multicultural coexistence.
On February 19, “2019 Pacific Leaders Summit for Peace: Centre of Spreading Peace beyond Ethnicity and Borders” was held at the New South Wales Parliament House in Australia to discuss the need for an international mechanism for sustainable peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War(DPCW).
As the main agenda of the summit, the DPCW drafted by international law experts includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement, which have been advocated by ASEAN and Pacific countries. It further emphasizes cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create and spread a culture of peace.
Hon. Gibbs Salika, Chief of Justice of Papua New Guinea, said, “I believe any threat against human security should not be overlooked but to bring awareness and resolve these matters through the implementation of the DPCW in the international field to challenge any threat against human security by cooperation of nations. We must work in solidarity in oneness to create a peaceful atmosphere, spreading the culture and good spirit of peace.”
In the summit, former and current heads of state and political leaders in 8 Pacific countries signed “HWPL-Pacific Islands Comprehensive Agreement on Advocacy for the DPCW”. This agreement stipulates that national leaders “actively cooperate and participate in the process of introducing the DPCW to the UN so that it can be adopted and developed into a binding instrument” and “express their support for the DPCW in the form of a document”.
Cambodia – Comprehensive discussion for peaceful mutual development in Southeast Asia
On February 21, 1,000 social representatives including youth and women from ASEAN member states, religious leaders, and NGOs participated in the “2019 Southeast Asia Peace Forum” held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to discuss practical approaches to peacebuilding in the region.
With the theme of “Cooperation and Leap for Realization of Peace”, the event discussed a global partnership for mutual development of peacebuilding measures while considering the achievements of the Southeast Asian version of peacebuilding efforts for the last decades to tackle violent extremism including terrorism and internal conflicts.
On 22 February, Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport of the Kingdom of Cambodia (MoEYS) hosted “2019 Launching Ceremony of the MoEYS-Affiliated HWPL Peace Education Committee” to execute discussion for the introduction of peace education in the country. To further expand partnership with the Ministry and HWPL from the MoU last year and successive pilot education programs applied to schools in Cambodia, 20 schools and universities and HWPL signed MoUs to implement peace education.
In order to seek for the solutions for religious harmony, a conference titled “Peace message for the Implementation of Peaceful Religions” was held in attendance with 450 participants including religious leaders from Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity in Cambodia, South Korea, Vietnam, Indiaand Singapore.
Regarding the important role of religious leaders, H.H. Samdech Preah Agga Mahā Sangharājādhipat Tep Vong said that religious leaders are responsible for educating peace to the people and cooperating with HWPL to gather at the interfaith dialogue meeting to leave the inheritance of peace to the future generations.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light - Collective efforts from citizens to the national leaders to realize peace
"As humanity continues to evolve, this development is not just to save the world. We must change the world that we live in today. For this, international law is needed to realize peace. The DPCW was drafted by examining 21 international law experts several times. If we all become one and achieve peace, it will be recorded as the work of light forever,” said Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL at the 2019 Pacific Leaders Summit.
According to the official of HWPL, this strategic approach by HWPL gaining support from governments and civil society internationally is significant in collecting worldwide support for the great cause of peace.
Along with the adoption of the resolution supporting the DPCW in Central American Parliament, HWPL has established a partnership through an MoU with Pan-African Parliament (PAP) from 55 member states of the African Union (AU) and International Centre for Black Sea-Baltic Studies and Consensus Practices (Centre for BBS), which is composed of former heads of state in Eastern Europe for the support of the DPCW.
This flow of network for peace from Central America, Africa, and Eastern Europe to now the Pacific led to these peace activities where government officials, leaders of NGOs, and citizens to advocate the UN and global community for international law for peace.