The Peace Forum attracted 1000 social representatives to the city of Phnom Penh
On 21st February 2019, 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 peace building in the region.
With the theme of “Cooperation and Leap for Realisation 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.
Wong Hon Wai, a Member of Parliament of Malaysia, emphasised the necessity of international law to promote peace and human rights and said, “During the last century, we have witnessed numerous armed conflicts and wars. Have we learned lessons in this experience? Therefore, we must now work together to spread the message of peace, improve the legal framework, and enjoy the fruit of long-lasting peace. “
In this regard, Parlindungan Purba, S.H., MM., Chairman of the Second Session of Regional Representative Council in Indonesia, urged the UN adoption of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), saying “We will establish clear and practical plans to increase the number of countries which is supporting the DPCW. There is also a moral obligation to fulfill our mission to urge peace and the DPCW. We must be peace creators.”
The DPCW drafted by international law experts includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the threat and use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful settlement of disputes, which have been advocated by ASEAN countries. It further emphasises cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create and spread a culture of peace.
Man Hee Lee, the Chairman of NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), urged the joint efforts for the enactment of the DPCW by saying, “Now we have the answer within the 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW to achieve peace and end the war. There is no one who doesn’t want peace. The leaders of the nations should do what their people want them to do. This is the true politics that lead us from death to life. There shouldn’t be anyone who disturbs this work of peace. We all have to put our efforts together. When we work together for peace, it will be the light that shines all over the world.”
The participants both national leaders and students and citizens wrote supporting letters for the DPCW, that will be presented to respective national leaders and international organisations to advocate implementation of the declaration.
According to the HWPL official, this strategic approach, gaining support from governments and civil society, is the very driving force of peacebuilding. HWPL has proposed the need for global ties of peace from the support of the grassroots to United Nations officials from 145 countries and established a partnership with Pan-African Parliament from 55 member states of the African Union. This flow of network for peace led to this forum where government officials, leaders of NGOs, and citizens from Southeast Asian countries to urge the UN and global community for international law for peace.