September 19, 2019 – 15h30 -16h30, Side event at the UNOG during the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council

The panel on Peace and Human Development through the Partnership between Civil Society, the UN and Governments took place in Hall VIII, September 19, 2019 – 15h30 -16h30, as a Side event at the UN Offices in Geneva during the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council. 

Chaired by Ms. Chantal Chételat Komagata, Secretary General, UPF Switzerland, the session had 4 distinguished panelists, who presented their complementary viewpoints on the issue of Peace on the Korean Peninsula. 

Iqbal Alimohamed, UN Diplomat and former senior UN HCR Official, Geneva

He spoke on the formal diplomacy, that started in the 2018 Summit that aimed at stability and lasting peace and the relationship between the countries at stake on the Korean Peninsula, mainly, the US, Japan, and China. He mentioned the Human rights' mechanisms that have been developed to search for peaceful resolution of disputes, of the many treaties ratified by governments. He pointed at the the lack of implementation and the need for NGO's to bear the weight of having to prevent Human rights abuse and contribute to the de-escalation of conflict. He emphasized the importance of quiet diplomacy, pluralism, respect and harmonization of identical interests.

Ms. Carolyn Handschin, Vice-President NGO-CSW, Director Office for UN Relations for WFWP

She pointed out the importance of preparing for peace and the fact of signing peace treaties doesn’t mean their implementation. She emphasized the importance of transitional justice and accountability, of listening to victims, working at the grassroots level and making bridges between decision makers and civil society for sustainable peace. She also mentioned the panel organized by WFWP in the morning on how women have been working on bringing peace through projects across the 38th parallel. Just like in the family, making peace is a daily process that involves love and care and helps everyone think of a larger scope. Particularly mothers in the world can use their abilities for peace and development.

Dr. Astrid Stückelberger, Faculty of Medicine UNIGE and UNIL

She treated the topic from the scientific viewpoint and hinted at the need to let go of old beliefs and the need to talk about interpolitics in the global community. She also emphasized the importance of teaching non-violent communication and going through inner forgiveness and emotional healing on the individual level. A collective education is needed for people to self-determine their destiny, for which some research showed the necessity to have symbolic images to build the right stories for our children and ourselves. During war, whole generations are disabled through abduction of children into army, programming, brainwashing, living behind individuals with PTSD, that results in extremism and the belief that violence is normal. A training to redirect people to think love is essential, as extremism is a mental sickness. Healing is necessary, as it is trans-generational, and will benefit future generations. In order not to pass on violence, mental health is necessary before having children. She ended with the metaphor that only one more snowflake will make the branch break for a new world. 

Mr. Heiner W. Handschin, Director UPF Office for UN relations Geneva

He presented a futuristic vision that had been shared by Rev. Joong Hyun Pak of UPF 10 years ago and again 5 years ago, with a delegation from Korea and in the presence of Russian and Japanese representatives, at this same UN office in Geneva: a Peace Park zone and a 5th UN office on the demilitarized zone. This would open up new possibilities for the development of the peaceful unification and sustainable development of the two Koreas, with huge resources of construction materials and not just N-S Korea railway, but a modern transrailway system from which the whole world could be connected (see Pdf)

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