In commemoration of Human Rights Day, the “International Law Webinar: On War, Peace and Human Rights” was held online on December 5, 2022 under the theme “DPCW: The Answer to Peace”. A total of 320 participated with mostly law students from the Philippine Christian University (PCU)-College of Law.
The event was organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international non-governmental organization in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) advocating for peace and cessation of war, in collaboration with the PCU-College of Law.
The first speaker is Atty. Ismael Sarangaya Jr., Associate Dean of PCU-College of Law, who presented “International Humanitarian Law: Rules Governing War”. According to him, the UN Charter prohibits use of force among state members but there is one exception–a state under attack has a right to self-defense. He discussed the IHL including the four Geneva Conventions that provide protection to the wounded and sick armed forces in the field and shipwrecked at sea, prisoners of war and civilian population in times of war. He emphasized that the IHL makes war “more compassionate than it ought to be.”
“We hope that one day, IHL will be considered nugatory or inapplicable because of the absence of war, that’s our dream, but right now we have war [and] armed conflicts, so at the very least, IHL limits the use or resort to weapons or the means and methods of warfare,” he added. Some of the weapons banned by treaties are bullets that expand or flatten in the human body, poison and poisoned weapons, chemical and biological weapons.
The second speaker is Atty. Kristoffer James Purisima, Professor at PCU-College of Law, who discussed the topic “Negotiating Resilience: Climate Crisis and Human Rights”. He presented statistics revealing that the Philippines is the fourth most affected country by climate change and the top 1 country with highest disaster risk according to the 2022 World Risk Index Report. This highlighted the importance of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and its institutionalization.
He enumerated the threats to human security brought by climate crisis including poverty, unemployment, famine, diseases, lack of access to basic care, pollution, violence and human rights abuses. He concluded by emphasizing the “urgency of how we must act and save ourselves and our environment from extinction”.
The last presentation was made by Mr. John Rommel Garces, HWPL Philippines Chief Branch Manager, on the topic “The Legislate Peace Project: Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)”. The DPCW is a document with 10 articles and 38 clauses drafted by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee. It is being submitted to the United Nations to be implemented as a legally-binding document to strengthen the existing provisions on global peace.
At the end of the program, the participants were encouraged to sign their support for the DPCW as part of HWPL’s Legislate Peace Project. They also wrote peace letters addressed to heads of states particularly the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine, to urge for cessation of war and campaign for the institutionalization of peace.
Learn more about the DPCW here: http://bit.ly/3VFArEO