Letter dated 9 April 1986 from the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, to the Secretary-General on the International Year of Peace

I have the honour to refer to the letter of 6 December 1985, concerning the International Year of Peace and to General Assembly resolutions 40/3 and 40/10, which were noted with appreciation by the Human Rights Committee.

The Committee wishes to recall that its work under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the promotion of human rights, as a whole, is to be considered as a contribution to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations.

The Committee wholeheartedly welcomes every effort to maintain and strengthen international Peace. In its general comments Nos. 6 (16} and 14 (23) which are appended to this letter, the Human Rights Committee drew the attention of States parties to the Covenant to the fact that the right to life "is basic to all human rights" and that "States have the supreme duty to prevent wars, acts of genocide and other acts of mass violence causing arbitrary loss of life. Every effort they make to avert the danger of war, especially thermonuclear war, and to strengthen international peace and security would constitute the most important condition and guarantee for the safeguarding of the right to life". The Committee shares the concern expressed during successive sessions of the General Assembly that "the development and proliferation of increasingly awesome weapons of mass destruction ... not only threaten human life but also absorb resources that could otherwise be used for vital economic and social purposes, particularly for the benefit of developing countries, and thereby for Promoting and securing the enjoyment of human rights for all".

In that same connection, the Committee also expressed the view that "the production, testing, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons should be prohibited and recognized as crimes against humanity".

The Committee would appreciate it if the Secretary-General would kindly distribute general comments Nos.6 (16) and 14 (23) to all States Members of the United Nations.

The Committee hopes that more States will accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As one of the corner-stones of the International Bill of Human Rights, the Covenant secures peace among nations. In view of this lofty goal, it would be highly desirable that the Covenant attain universality as soon as possible.

(Signed) Andreas V. MAVROMMATIS

Chairman of the Human Rights Committee