The focus of this website and learn about the DroitVP...
In brief... The DroitVP is a network of citizens of the world
Aims of the DroitVP ...
Small introduction to the International Law ...
The role of this network ... (How and why?)
How to participate in the network ...
Unregistered organisation & the "DroitVP's Charter"
A comment about the concept of a Civic Network
Who am I? Who is the Webmaster / Coordinator ?
To know more, consult the document
DroitVP network's Protocol
(organisation, "membership" and democratic process)
The DroitVP is intended to be a relatively informal network of citizens of the world who share the hope of imposing limits to the actions of governments in order to try and block massive violations of the fundamental human rights of civilian people (civilian populations) and of the democratic rights of peoples (nations). As a medium to promote a greater justice for Humanity, the DroitVP network demands the respect of human rights, of the International Humanitarian Laws (sometimes named "Law of armed conflicts") and of international justice (Ex.: International Criminal Law).
The function of this network is to increase cooperation between citizens of the world and between non governmental organisations in their opposition to Crimes against Humanity and the impunity of those responsible for these crimes. The main means used by the DroitVP are :
a) sharing credible and quality information in a spirit of civic and independent journalism;
b) taking a common stand or position, when possible on the Electronic Forum, and posting our position on the DroitVPs web site;
and c) discussion to propose concerted non violent actions of protestation and/or promoting greater world justice.
Simply said, the international civic network for the Right to Life of Civilian Populations and Nations [Peoples] (DroitVP; Droit is a French word meaning Law-Right or The right to...) struggles against violations of the Right to Life (Genocide and other crimes against humanity such as imposed starvation; bombing civilian infrastructure necessary to ensure subsistence, therefore Crimes of war, etc.). The Right to Life being the most fundamental of the Human Rights.* The purpose of this network of individuals and groups is to contest interventions and policies that target innocent people or populations and to make the world public opinion more aware of these crises that are sometimes ignored or distorted by mass media. More precisely, as a strategy to limit the horror of war, since we often are incapable of preventing or stopping war, our aim is to promote the effective enforcement of the International Humanitarian Laws, that is to say the Geneva Conventions (1949/1977) which define what is a Crime of War, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), etc. Otherwise said, to demand of States that they respect the fundamental Human Rights even in times of crisis or urgency and in time of war.
* Note: C
apital letters, such as in Human Rights, signify that these concepts are encoded in specific conventions and laws; they are not vague principals.
In summary, we refuse violent policies imposed deliberately against peoples (populations); which are much more common than people would like to believe and, worst of all, western governments such as the United States of America and United Kingdom sometimes themselves initiate grave violations of the Humanitarian Laws. We should make it clear, for example, that we are not talking about the accidental death of civilians in times of war, but rather of the deliberate choosing of civilian people and/or civilian infrastructure as strategic targets to be destroyed or damaged. Even the Canadian government, who advocates 'human security' on an international level, often prefers to stay quiet and sometimes actively participates in those criminal policies. For Humanity, it is highly problematic to know, with certainty, that the most powerful governments of the world, who declare themselves "good, just and democratic", violate quite knowingly the Humanitarian Laws destined to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, these are things people know little about. Moreover, North-American mass media avoid seriously analysing crimes committed by their own country.
We have therefore decided that it was necessary to inform people and to attempt to create a network of citizens worldwide to put pressure on the governments of the world, especially upon western governments.
Before explaining the DroitVP's mandate, it would be best to describe the present state of the international law. First of all, the International Laws are actually official agreements between States, each State is supposed to respect these on the basis of good will and mutual trust. Otherwise said, this kind of law is not exactly like the law we know within our societies; they are very rarely obligatory laws that States must abide by at all cost. The best example is the fact that a State, during any dispute can, more often than not, legally refuse the 'competence' of an international court of justice if it does not wish to stand accused before it. In summary, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)* is therefore a voluntary way of solving disputes; it is not an obligatory system (there are some exceptions where a State has the legal obligation of recognizing the jurisdiction of a court). Indeed, States do have international obligations and laws do exist (eg.: international treaties) but, in practice, international justice does impose it's will to States. In general, international justice not repress violations of the international law, but it helps States negotiate their conflicts by settling the case by virtue of the international law.
* Not to be confused with the International Criminal Court (ICC)
* To know about the ICJ, the ICC, etc., we recommend our texte which explains what legal recourses exist with a real example of a Crime of war In French only
Then why do States wish to respect these international treaties and conventions? The international law is a political will to normalize relations between nations. It is a kind of association of States which offers mutual security: they accept to play by the same rules in order to avoid conflicts and to simplify international relations. Moreover, there is also a question of international reputation. If a State often violates the International Law, other nations (ex: governments, investors, etc.) will no longer wish to maintain diplomatic and commercial ties since they will no longer trust this State.
The DroitVP began it's existence when Quebecers (people from Quebec-Canada) took to heart the struggle against the criminal blockade imposed upon the entire Iraqi civil society. This brought us to realize the extent to which Humanitarian Laws and the supposed international "justice" system do not yet exist and are applied only to the weakest countries. Indeed, it is grossly obvious that U.S. officials and military officers are, for example, totally immune to the Humanitarian Laws; they have committed an uncounted number of Crimes of War that they judged necessary for reasons of "strategy" and it is not presently possible to bring them before a court of law. For example, during the bombing of the Gulf War, the Coalition destroyed water treatment plants; necessary for the life of the population. It is not necessary to be an expert to know that the innocents are those who have died. As another example, let us also look at the destruction of the Serbian television station during the Kosovo War. The sixteen (16) civilians that worked there at that moment are all dead. Not a single warning and no effort to bomb the station at night when the people would not have been at work. This was done totally on purpose. This is undeniably a Crime of War. Please note that the DroitVP is not declaring that war can be just if "well done", "done properly" or "clean", but we do declare that 'western' States sometimes do not even respect the minimum of civility and humanity.
But why do western States commit Crimes of War? If they believe it is strategic for economic or military reasons and, most of all, if they can get away with it on a political level, this may seem advantageous to them since they will never be really condemned by justice. We cannot speak of a system of Law if some powerful are above the law. We cannot either hope of imposing these to others if we, ourselves, violate them when it serves our interests.
However, there are obligatory limits that form the base of the International Law which are named the "peremptory or imperative norms" (Latin: Jus cogens); that is to say norms from which no derogation (violation) is permitted. In theory, for example, States must try to solve their disputes through peaceful means, they must not use terrorist methods, etc. Considering the aims of the DroitVP, we must specify that according to the justice system that the world community has given itself, there are absolutely no justifications possible for a Crime against Humanity, neither political, economic, strategic or anything else. Yet, the reality of it all is complex, it is not a simple thing to impose these norms in an international system where the law of "might makes right" surfaces once in a while. Therefore, although the creation of the (permanent) International Criminal Court (ICC) is technically a step forward, with the present state of the United Nations, international justice is never in any way impartial. Unfortunately, it is too often UN Security Council (only 15 countries of which 5 powerful ones have excessive power in terms of vote) which identifies threats to international peace and security and also crimes against humanity, yet the permanent members of the Council (China, France, United Kingdom, United States and Russia) are the greatest purveyors of weapons worldwide(!) for example. The permanent members of the Council can often avoid international justice and they decide according to their political interests of the moment.
The DroitVP is a network of individuals and groups wishing to cooperate together for various citizen based (non gov.) campaigns against murderous policies and who wish to promote the obligatory respect of the Humanitarian Laws. Ideally, while also wanting the sovereignty of democracies and cultures, it is certain that we would like the Humanitarian Laws to be truly considered an obligatory criminal code, that is to say that it would be possible to condemn those guilty of Crimes of War, etc. Although this is not the reality as of now, we believe that through the world public opinion, it is possible to pressure States. Indeed, they have a reputation to protect. Our priority is to especially influence western governments since they are the ones most immune to international justice.
I) Alternative source of information :
By offering quality information about various crises where the rights of peoples and civilian populations are violated ;
II) Activism :
By activism, we mean the active and non-violent participation of citizens within their society with the aim of explicitly demanding (advocating), at the very least, the respect of the International Humanitarian Laws.
Why this network ?
All in all, the DroitVP exist since a need is being felt to fill a terrible void in our so-called democracy; a void in which we let our elected representatives do anything when it comes to international military interventions. Above and beyond the laws that should apply even during armed conflicts, the purpose is to demand of our governments that they respect the fundamental Human Rights of peoples. We hope to encourage the citizens of the world to empower themselves with the Humanitarian Laws so as to demand of States the respect of the right to life of Peoples (nations), for example, by demanding that they retract from policies or interventions that have genocidal effects. We do not know of many citizen-groups who advocate the respect, by our elected bodies, of the rights of Peoples and of the International Humanitarian Laws (most advocate individual Human Rights). That is why we feel the DroitVP is pertinent and necessary.
Amnesty International, for example, focuses on political freedom and avoids contesting policies per say and even less those from the Security Council (e.g.: until the years 2000-2001, AI did not wish to discuss publicly the economic sanctions against Iraq). The DroitVP is a supporter of AI and is in no way in competition, but our network plays a complementary role by openly criticising policies judged, for example, to be contrary to the principals of the Humanitarian Laws.
Much like the United Nations, the International Red Cross prefers to adopt a "discrete" approach, that is to say they discretely contact governments rather than exert pressure publicly, for example, by avoiding to name the alleged guilty. As can be read on their web site, this is quite legitimate, since their main purpose is to be able to freely help the victims where they are (i.e. The Red Cross does not wish to be hated by governments). Again, the aim of the DroitVP is to publicly criticize and name clearly those States that are guilty of violations as well as the accomplices.
We are of the firm conviction that we, the citizens of all nations of the world, have the duty of imposing limits to our governments if we do not wish to suddenly become the next "strategic" targets in a war where all means are justified in order to crush the adversary.
There are essentially two levels of participation :
Subscription to the DroitVP Bulletin (web updates, etc.) :
You only need to be a human being interested in knowing more.
The list of people and organisations subscribed to the DroitVP bulletin is confidential and does not bind them to anything.
Active member- "activism" (active citizenship) :
Citizens of the world and groups who explicitly and actively demand the respect of the rights of Peoples, such as the protection of civilians in times of conflict (International Humanitarian Law), and of Human Rights (ex: Right to Life). To join this network as an individual or simply to support us*, subscribe to the DroitVP network's Forum or write to web [at] micles.biz/droitvp
* Groups who support us are totally independent. Members of groups and organisations are encouraged to influence the DroitVP by joining the Forum....
To know more about participation in the network (the DroitVP's Forum) and about our structure, read our Protocol.
For the moment, since the DroitVP is a network of autonomous individuals and groups across the world, we do not feel the need to register as an NGO.
Nevertheless, even without a complet charter (it is being written and discussed on the Forum), as initiator of this group, here are two of my obligations (the document DroitVP_Protocole goes in more detail):
I, Michaël Lessard, I personally commit myself
i) that the information on the DroitVP web site will be of quality. For example, by ensuring the the sources-references are real;
ii) that all donations to the DroitVP will only be used to pay for the material expenses related to DroitVP activities and will not be used for any form of salary to whom ever.
___ The DroitVP's Charter
In fact, instead of a Charter, for the moment we have
This is part of our Charter. Please read this document if you wish to participate in the DroitVP Forum.
The text above is the principal base of our objectives and of our prupose, but it is important to specify that the DroitVP is intended to be an
i) international ... : a worldwide civic movement (the "networking" is done through the internet)
ii) international civic ... : therefore of citizens of the world
The DroitVP Forum is composed of individuals, but we encourage associations, civic groups and organisations to have as many individuals subscribed to the DroitVP Forum as they wish. Whenever the DroitVP has awareness campaigns it wishes to do, individuals from the Forum try to rally the official support from various worldwide groups and associations (i.e. their support for a specific cause or stand, not for the DroitVP per say).
iii) international civic network : the « members » are independent (but they may create a DroitVP group as such; see the following document)
The DroitVP network in not intended to be « corporate » nor sectarian, that is to say our network does not foster any competition with other networks and, precisely, aims instead to increase cooperation between civic associations (cooperation being often faulty or scarce).
Michaël Lessard, coordinator for 2001-2002.
Hello, my name is Michaël Lessard. I am a Canadian-Quebec citizen. I initiated the Movement for the Right to Life of the Civilian Population of Iraq (DroitVPI). Then, while creating this website, we extended the concept to DroitVP, in order to include other victims of criminal policies. In summary, I am the one who maintains this site and I am the moderator/coordinator of the DroitVP's Forum.
I am a Guidance Counselor (Master's degree: Essentially trained as a "vocational psychotherapist"). Obviously, I'm also a Human Rights activist. Moreover, I am presently studying for a Master's degree in International Relations (focusing in International Development) in order to be better equipped for these issues of humanity which touch me profoundly. My professional orientation is therefore towards international analysis and intervention; the purpose being to influence our egocentric policies, in which the profit of some is obtained at the excessive detriment of others. Otherwise said, I wish to promote international cooperation and the International Humanitarian Laws.
The fact that governments deploy so much effort to manipulate the public opinion proves that we have a very real impact upon them. The talk of defeatism and powerlessness spoken by many citizens is, from my perspective, a convenient way of not feeling concerned and of not acting. Yet, it seems to me that the only people that can impose international laws and Human Rights to governments, are the citizens themselves. Beyond State sovereignty, what we need is the democratic sovereignty and true cooperation between peoples. - Michaël Lessard
For any comments, critiques or suggestions,
write to... web [at] micles.biz/droitvp
Any form of support would be appreciated !