New York, 12 December 2021 (TDI): The United Nations (UN) established the International Day of Neutrality-12 December as the prospect of an idealistic world. This day focuses on influencing the countries to have mutually beneficial and diplomatic ties with each other.

On this day, the UN delivered a message, saying, “Our efforts may not always make headlines, but for more than 76 years, the UN has been working to prevent conflict and keep peace & stability. Sunday is International Neutrality Day.”

Introduction to International Neutrality Day

Neutrality is defined as a state’s legal status resulting from its complete abstention from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the combatants, and the recognition of this cessation and lack of bias by the conflicting parties is critical for the UN.

UN demands this abstention by states in order to gain and maintain the trust and partnership of all parties in order to function effectively and productively, especially in situations where there is a threat of war.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) underlined such commitments in its resolution 71/275 since Article 2 of the UN Charter requires member states to resolve international conflicts via peaceful methods and to abstain from the threat or use of force in their interactions.

The resolution further emphasized that certain governments’ neutrality policies may contribute to world peace and security. In the establishment of diplomatic ties based on mutual interest between states, neutrality policies play a crucial role. 

Recognizing that such national neutrality policies encourage the use of humanitarian intervention, which is a core UN principle and one of the Secretary General’s responsibilities, the General Assembly declared December 12 the International Day of Neutrality and called for commemorations to raise awareness of the issue of neutrality in international relations.

History of International Neutrality Day

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) announced the International Day of Neutrality in February 2017 and it was observed on December 12 of that year. The duties and rights of a neutral country are set in the Hague Convention of 1907. The Hague Convention of 1907 establishes the obligations and privileges of a neutral state.  

A neutral country is described in international law as a sovereign country that abstains from participating in wars with or between other states and preserves a stance of neutrality toward conflicting parties. In exchange, belligerents must respect their neutrality. In all future wars, a country in a permanent status of neutrality will stay such.

Policy of International neutrality

International Neutrality Day is celebrated to promote peace among states by promoting neutrality. Any country that declares itself as not a part of a war or conflict between conflicting states gets the status of a Neutral state. The condition for such a state is to stay unbiased in a time of conflict or war; the best example of a Neutral state is Turkmenistan, where Neutral Day is the second most important state holiday.

Neutrality Day of Turkmenistan

Being a neutral state since 12 December 1995, the resolution for International Day of Neutrality was first presented by Turkmenistan. On December 12, 1995, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 50/80, expressing confidence that Turkmenistan’s “permanent neutrality” would promote regional peace and security.

According to this resolution, Turkmenistan’s neutrality or unbiasedness during times of conflict and war must be respected and maintained. Turkmenistan’s Neutrality Day is the country’s second most significant national holiday.

Hence, every year on December 12th, Turkmenistan celebrates this anniversary. Turkmenistan’s “second big national holiday” falls on the same day as the International Day of Neutrality.

In order to celebrate Turkmenistan’s permanent Neutrality and International Day of Neutrality, the International Conference “Peace and Trust Policy – Basis of International Security, Stability and Development” was organized in Turkmenistan on 11 December 2021.

Importance of International Day of Neutrality

First, Neutrality Day is not only crucial for governments, but it has immense importance for NGOs and other humanitarian groups, whose aim is to properly care for casualties during times of armed conflict and war.

Second, such idealistic ideas of complete peace are shared ideas studied and discussed at conferences and events. With various threats, such discussions allow peace to rule in today’s world.

Third, on the International Day of Neutrality, neutral countries act as role models for other countries. It is beneficial to learn from these countries and recognize that violence is not the solution.