SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Each Year on September 21th, the United Nations (UN) celebrate International Day of Peace. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The theme for the 2018 Day of Peace is “The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”. The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration – the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages - is as relevant today as it was on the day that it was adopted.
Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” calls for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. A peaceful society is one where there is justice and equality for everyone. Human Rights are instrumental to get and maintain peace.
“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” -- Secretary-General António Guterres stated.
What is our Sint Maarten government intending to do on Peace and Justice for all?
Before 2010 Sint Maarten and Curacao have started to ‘Build Strong Institutions’, with the establishment of the High Council of State, The Ombudsman, The SER etc. If we look at the current Governing program 2018-2022, ‘Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten’, some key priority areas for development of the country are mentioned. The parts that refer to SDG 16, Peace and Justice, building strong institutions, are: ‘Introduce Electoral Reform and Implement Integrity Chamber.’ Strengthen collaboration with Saint Martin and Kingdom partners are also to be considered falling under SDG 16. On action level: Develop a National Safety and Security plan and Be more safety smart, fall indirectly under Peace, justice for all.
The themes Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability are also highlighted in the St. Maarten Governing program, as also Electoral Reform. It states: ‘We must consider that there is a fundamental public lack of trust in past governments.
We believe that both constitutional and electoral reform can contribute to the restoration of trust. While Sint Maarten enjoys free and fair elections, an increasing concern is, that there is still a need to educate the community of our electoral system.
To this end we will review the laws governing elections, improve electoral awareness on all levels and where necessary improve the democratic process of electing a parliament and appointing a government to office.’
Under ‘Protecting Industries and Communities’ the Government of Sint Maarten is focusing on Crime prevention, and it states: ‘To protect the people of Sint Maarten and visitors to our island, we must intensify the crime prevention practices in the Justice chain. Strategic and tactical deployment of our officers in critical business and residential districts are some of the much-needed deterrents against crimes. However, we must not see crime prevention solely from the standpoint of increasing police presence. There must be significant investments in our Youth to prevent juvenile delinquency.
To reduce crime in general we will strengthen our neighborhood crime watch programs, deploy more blue on the street, better equip and train the community police officers, finalize and extend the camera project. However, the task of crime prevention does not stop here and will have to include active identity theft programs and educate the community on the ills of the internet as it relates to private information.’
The Right to Peace
The Universal Declaration states in Article 3. “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” These elements build the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Yet, the Universal Declaration does not include a separate article on “Right to Peace”.
What does “The Right to Peace” mean to you? What can you do?
In the lead up to the International Day of Peace on 21 September, the UN calls upon all to act. You can support SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions by seeking peaceful resolution of conflict when disagreements arise around you. You can be part of the solution by taking small steps. You can prevent an injustice at school or in your community by adopting a non-violent approach to problem solving and reporting potential crimes, including online bullying.
You can promote human rights by collecting and promoting videos of as many articles as possible in as many languages as possible. Record yourself reading one of the 30 articles of the Declaration in any of the 135 languages currently available and share your video with your friends.
You can engage by speaking up when others are at risk and stand with others’ human rights at work, in school and around the dinner table.
You can share your ideas with the UN through #peaceday and #standup4humanright.
You can reflect how each of us can stand up for our rights, every day. Human rights are everyone's rights.
St. Maarten’s Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) is the designated focal point for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda on St. Maarten. Ms. Drs. L. Morales, program manager at BAK can be contacted to be part of the SDGs process.
The governing program can be downloaded from the Sint Maarten government Website www.sintmaartengov.org