On 10 September 2019, over 350 participants came together to celebrate the 5th Annual commemoration of the “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration (HWPL) World Peace Summit” at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, South Africa.
Amongst the guests were government representatives from South Africa, Mozambique and the Republic of Seychelles.
As a part of HWPL’s Peace Letter campaign, where thousands of youth wrote peace letters to their Heads of State urging for the adoption of an international peace law for peace, the responses from the President of Seychelles and the President of Mozambique was readout during the event.
With the theme of “Legislate Peace – Implementation of the DPCW for Sustainable Development”, the event further collected public support for the establishment of a legally binding international law for peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
The DPCW, which is a comprehensive document which clarifies the role that members of the international community play in preventing and resolving conflicts, is in the process of being introduced to the United Nations (UN) as a draft resolution.
As part of this process, HWPL, and its affiliated youth organization, the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), promote the Legislate Peace (LP) campaign, which has gathered supporting signatures and peace letters that the youth wrote to their respective Heads of State.
The campaign has gained 1.5 million supporters from 195 countries.
In a span of six months, over 5 000 South African youth have participated in the LP campaign and sent handwritten letters to His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, expressing deep and relevant concerns regarding the increasing levels of crime within their communities across South Africa.
These pleas contextualized the lives of everyday citizens plagued by gang violence, gender-based violence, and the lack of peace within their communities.
Among others, in Southern Africa, these letters have garnered responses from the Presidents of the Republic of Seychelles and The Republic of Mozambique.
Other supporting officials include; various Chief Justices, Speakers of Parliament and Ministers who have advocated for the DPCW to be promoted by citizens of their countries.
Some of the solutions proposed by the youth include; preventative measures such as peace education as a curriculum in schools, developing a culture of peace through collaborative governance and the promotion of a new international law for peace.
In South Africa, these solutions remain unheard as the youth found themselves swept amid the most violent scourge of xenophobic attacks, murder, and raping of our women.
In a letter addressed to South African President Ramaphosa, thirteen-year-old Liesbeek Primary School student from Mitchell’s Plein Kiara Keffers highlighted the current surge in gender violence: “Women should not live in fear of being physically or sexually abused.
Children should not live in fear of being kidnapped, killed or trafficked around the world.” Keffers also encouraged the president ‘to wage the war against abuse to women and children by signing the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War to prevent and end violence against our people.’
Up to date, IPYG has received numerous responses to their peace letters.
These include Former President of Malawi Joyce Banda, the First Lady of Namibia as well as President Danny Faure of the Republic of Seychelles.
In a hand-written response, President of the Republic of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi revealed that the nation is working hard towards inclusive socio-economic development.
“In view of our own experiences as Mozambicans, we share your war horror stories, those bitter experiences have cemented our deep-rooted quest for peace through consensus and conviction that there is no alternative to peace”.
President Nyusi, who recently signed Mozambique’s government and the former rebel organization Maputo Peace and Reconciliation Agreement also congratulated the youth for breeding young leaders that advocate and practice peace.
Over the month of September, the commemoration will be held in 174 locations in 135 countries including South Korea, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, India, Zambia, and the United States of America.
In South Korea, the event will be held over a 2 day period from 18 to 19 September and includes sessions to discuss the practical measures for building sustainable peace.
The host organization, HWPL, is an NGO associated with the UN Department of Global Communications and in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC.
HWPL runs LP projects through receiving not only peace letter replies but also gaining national support of DPCW.
Eswatini and Seychelles are among the African nations that have officially announced the National Declaration.