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The Re-affirmation of Humanitarian International Law

Rene Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

6 Jan 2017 – Current armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria-Iraq-ISIS-Turkey, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere have led to repeated and conscious violations of humanitarian international law such as attacks on medical facilities and personnel, killing of prisoners-of-war, the taking and killing of hostages, the use of civilians as “human shields” and torture.

At this stage, there is a pressing need to reflect upon what actions should be taken to implement humanitarian international law in response to increased challenges. We would like to stress the need for a United Nations-led conference on the re-affirmation of humanitarian international law stressing its application to non-State parties. Non-State actors such as ISIS or the Afghan Taliban, are increasingly involved in armed conflicts but were largely not envisaged when humanitarian international law was being drawn up. The, the conference would highlight the need to apply humanitarian international law both to States and to non-State actors. (1)

Such a conference would bring together into a coherent synthesis the four avenues of humanitarian international law: (2)

  1. The Geneva Conventions – Red Cross-mandated treaties;
  2. The Hague Convention traditions dealing with prohibited weapons, highlighting recent treaties such as those on land mines and cluster munitions;
  3. Human rights conventions and standards, valid at all times but especially violated in times of armed conflicts;
  4. The protection of sites and monuments which have been designated by UNESCO as part of the cultural heritage of humanity, highlighting the August 2016 decision of the International Criminal Court on the destruction of Sufi shrines in northern Mali. (3)

Such a re-affirmation of humanitarian international law should be followed by efforts to influence public consciousness of the provisions and spirit of humanitarian international law. This can be done, in part, by the creation of teaching manuals for different audiences and action guides. (4)

I would cite a precedent for this re-affirmation of humanitarian international law from personal experience. During the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, I was part of a working group created by the International Committee of the Red Cross to respond adequately to the challenges of this conflict which was the first African armed conflict that did not involve a colonial power. The blocking of food flows to Biafra and thus starvation as a tool of war was stressed in our work. (5)

One conclusion of the working group was the need to re-affirm the Geneva Conventions and especially to have them more widely known in Africa by writing Africa-focused teaching manuals. Thus, as at the time I was professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, Geneva, I collaborated with Professor Jiri Toman, Director of the Institut Henri Dunant on the creation of such a manual to be used in Africa. Today, such culturally-sensitive manuals could be developed to explain humanitarian international law.

Such a re-affirmation conference would be welcomed by civil society organizations related to relief, refugees, human rights and conflict resolution. A certain number of these organizations have already called attention to violations and the need for international action.

NOTES:
  • 1) see Andrew Clapham. Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • 2) see Sydney D. Bailey. Prohibitions and Restraints in War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972)
  • 3) see Rene Wadlow “Guilty Plea in Cultural Destruction Case” Peace Magazine (Canada) Oct-Dec 2016
  • 4) see Jacques Freymond. Guerres, Révolutions, Croix-Rouge (Geneva: Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales, 1976) and Thierry Hentsch. Face au blocus. La Coix Rouge internationale dans le Nigéria en guerre (Geneva: Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales, 1973)
  • 5) see as a good example of an action guide Paul Bonard. Les Modes d’Action des Acteurs Humanitaires. Critères d’une Complémentarité Operationelle (Geneva, CICR, no date given)


Turkey,the Death Penalty and Human Dignity

In the aftermath of the failed military coup of 15-16 July 2016 in Turkey, there have been calls at the highest levels of political authority to restore the death penalty. The Association of World Citizens has a consistent policy of opposition to the death penalty in statements to the United Nations human rights bodies as well as in direct appeals to governments.

Since the end of World War II, there has been a gradual abolition of the death penalty due to the rather obvious recognition that putting a person to death is not justice. Moreover, on practical grounds, the death penalty has little impact on the rate of crime in a country. A number of States have a death penalty for those involved in the drug trade. To the extent that the drug trade can be estimated statistically , the death penalty has no measurable impact on the trade - a trade usually linked to economic or geopolitical factors.

The Association of World Citizens is opposed to all organized killings by State agents. In addition to State-sponsored official executions, usually carried out publicly or at least with official observers, a good number of countries have State-sponsored “death squads” - persons affiliated to the police or to intelligence agencies who kill “in the dark of the night” - unofficially. These deaths avoid a trial which might attract attention or even a “not guilty” decision. A shot in the back of the head is faster. The number of “targeted killings” has grown. In many cases, the bodies of those killed are destroyed and so death is supposed but not proved, as has been the case of students protesting in Mexico. USA assassinations with drones has also been highlighted both in the United Nations human rights bodies and domestically. However, the drone “strikes” continue, and there is very little legislative opposition.

A good deal of recent concern had been expressed on the death sentence in Saudi Arabia pronounced against Ali al-Nimr found guilty “of going out to a number of marches, demonstrations, and gatherings against the state and repeating some chants against the state” when he was 15 years old. He was to die by crucifixion. There is perhaps some chance of a change of penalty due to more historically-minded Saudis. The most widely known person crucified is Jesus. As the Roman count records have been lost, we have only the account written by his friends who stressed that he was innocent of the crimes for which he was condemned. His crucifixion has taken on cosmic dimensions. “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” The Saudis try to avoid some of the Jesus parallel by beheading the person before putting the rest of the body on the cross, but the image of the crucified as innocent is wide spread.

Thus, the Association of World Citizens stresses the importance of human dignity. Our efforts against executions need to be addressed both to governments and to those state-like non-governmental armed groups such as ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The abolition of executions and the corresponding valuation of human life are necessary steps in developing a just world society.

Rene Wadlow,
President,
Association of World Citizens


World Interfaith Harmony Week : Steps Toward A Harmony Renaissance

The Association of World Citizens, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations, cooperates fully with the World Interfaith Harmony Week, which takes place February 1-7. The UN General Assembly designates the first week of every February as a time for cooperation for a common purpose among all religions, faiths and beliefs.

The General Assembly, building on its efforts for a culture of peace and non-violence in which World Citizens have played an active part, wishes to highlight the importance of mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue in developing a creative culture of peace and non-violence. The General Assembly recognizes “the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.” The week has a potential to promote the healing of religion-based tensions in the world.

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote,

At a time when the world is faced with many simultaneous problems—security, environmental, humanitarian, and economic—enhanced tolerance and understanding are fundamental for a resilient and vibrant international society. There is an imperative need, therefore, to further reaffirm and develop harmonious cooperation between the world’s different faiths and religions.

Global citizens have stressed that peace comes from cooperation beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, religion and nationality, and have called for a cultural renaissance based on the concept of harmony. Rather than concentrating primarily on conflicts, struggles, and suffering, they have suggested focusing on cooperation, coexistence, and visions of a better future. Harmony includes tolerance, acceptance, equality, and forgiveness of past pains and conflicts. Harmony leads to gentleness, patience, kindness, and thus to inner peace and outward relations based on respect.

World Citizens maintain that harmony is a universal common value. In harmony, we can find true values that transcend all cultures and religions. The meaning of life is to seek harmony within our inner self. Humans are born with a spiritual soul that develops to seek self-fulfilment. Our soul has a conscience that elevates us. As our soul grows to maturity, we achieve our own harmony.

However, harmony is not only a personal goal of inner peace, but a guideline for political, social and world affairs. Citizens of the World believe that our actions should enhance peace, reduce conflict, and activate a culture of harmony. The 21st century is the beginning of a Harmony Renaissance. Our world mission is to be ready for humanity’s next creative wave to lead us to a higher level of common accomplishment. The World Harmony Renaissance will bring the whole world into action for this new millennium of peace and prosperity with unfettered collective energy.

World Citizens have underlined the strong contribution that Chinese culture could play in the creation of this harmonious culture. In an earlier period of Chinese thought during the Song Dynasty, there was an important conscious effort to create a Harmony Renaissance. This was a period of interest in science —“the extension of knowledge through the investigation of things.” It was a time when there was a conscious effort to bring together into a harmonious framework what often existed as separate and sometimes hostile schools of thought: Confucianism, Buddhism, philosophical Daoism and religious Daoism. These efforts were called Tao hsuch, the Study of the Tao, an effort Western scholars later termed “Neo-Confucianism.”

Zhou Dunyi, often better known as the Master of Lien-his, was a leading figure in this effort. He developed a philosophy based on the alternation of the Yin and Yang, each becoming the source of the other.

Today, after decades of conflict when the emphasis of nations both in policy and practice was upon competition, conflict, and individual enrichment, we need to emphasize harmony, cooperation, mutual respect, and working for the welfare of the community with a respect for nature. When one aspect, either Yin or Yang, becomes too dominant, equilibrium needs to be restored.

Obviously it takes time to put into place a harmonious society at home and a harmonious world abroad. The cultivation of harmony must become the operational goal for many. As Mencius, a follower of Confucius said,

A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week is an opportunity to open new paths. As global citizens, we must find a new guiding image for our culture, one that unifies the aspirations of humanity with the needs of the planet and the individual. We hold that peace can be achieved through opening our hearts and minds to a broader perspective. We are one human race, and we inhabit one world. Therefore we must see the world with global eyes, understand the world with a global mind, and love the world with a global heart.

René Wadlow,
President,
Association of World Citizens


The World, Its Protection, Its Citizens

On behalf of the Association of World Citizens, I would like to send you best wishes for 2016.

May it be a year that brings peace and harmony closer to our world. Progress in the world is based on the emergence of ideas, their acceptance, their transformation into ideals, and then into programs of action.

2015 Has seen within the United Nations system two major frameworks of ideas and suggested plans of action. The first was the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and the second was the Paris COP 21 goals and treaty to deal with climate change. These guideline require close cooperation among national governments, the United Nations and other multilateral government institutions such as the European Union, and the wide range of non-governmental organizations including business and agriculture associations. We need to move from fragmented efforts to strong partnerships.

However, these positive goals need to be seen against the background of current armed conflicts and violent extremism often rooted in a deadly mix of exclusion and marginalization, mismanagement of natural resources, oppression and the alienation arising from a lack of jobs and opportunities. The World is in need of protection, both of people and Nature. As Citizens of the World, we have a sense of responsibility to participate fully in the emerging world society where disputes among States are settled within the framework of world law and through negotiations in good faith so that common interests may be found and developed.

As Citizens of the World, we have a sense of compassion for Nature, and thus we unite to safeguard the delicate balance of the natural environment and to develop the world's resources for the common good.

Today, we all face a choice between those forces that would drive us apart, forces and attitudes such as racism, narrow nationalism and the aggressive pursuit of self-interest on the one hand, and on the other hand, those forces which promote an emerging world society that is equitable and harmonious. I am sure that you also will choose to work for wholeness, harmony and creativity.

René Wadlow,
President,
Association of World Citizens


Turkey-Russia: Need for good faith negotiations

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" was an insight of the classic Greek period. There is obviously a form of madness in the Turks destroying a Russian fighter-bomber which may have entered Turkish air space along the frontier with Syria. The Turkish authorities knew that the Russians were going to bomb in Syria and not attack Turkey. "Air space" is a relative concept in a frontier area. When the Russian plane crashed, it crashed in Syria.

During the First World War, the French Prime Minister, George Clemenceau said "War is too important to be left only to Generals". Today, for the moment, the generals of NATO are meeting and the Russian generals are meeting on their side. The political leaders are in contact. However, peacemaking is too important to be left only to political leaders who created the violence in the first place. There needs to be movements and efforts beyond and outside the governments in conflict to help bring about negotiations and a climate in which peace measures are possible.

As citizens of the world, we are particularly called to help create such a climate for negotiations in good faith. We know that violence can spread, and that mutual escalation can slip out of control. We need to use our world-wide links in a creative way to reduce tensions in the wider Middle East so that peace measures are possible.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens


2017 IS ISIS CRISIS YEAR

The main theme for 21st Sept 2015

On 1st January, World's People renew their pledge and Resolve to Live in Peace throughout the New Year. Hence, it is called the "World Peace Day". Then what is "International Peace Day" observed on 21st Sept? I am not sure. But let us Cerebrate, Ratiocinate and Act to Make Peace a Reality. For when Injustice becomes Law, Rebellion becomes Duty. More so for me, for my family name is Rebello.

2017 is ISIS Crisis Year. And you know who or which country has engineered this. Answer is out in the open. International polls show that people all over the world believe that USA is the biggest obstacle to peace. Over 12 years into the so-called "Global War o­n Terror", US appears to be striking terror into the hearts of various global areas. In their annual End of Year Survey, Win/Gallup International found that United States is considered the number o­ne "greatest threat to peace in the world today". The poll of 67,806 respondents from 65 countries found that the USA earned that dubious distinction by a landslide. Even allies and concerned US citizens said so unequivocally.

Incidentally, how many know of more than 300 kms long wall built by Israel to grab Palestinian land? Now USA is building a wall on Mexican border to control the influx of Mexicans. If Earth is one, how can anyone be an Illegal Immigrant? Frankly, the 'Cabal of Evil for the Whole World' is located in Washington DC. "Why not Wall-off the Evil" by building a Wall around Washington DC so that Evil cannot spread out? Here is a swell idea for "Occupy Washington" group.

Whether it is 1st January, 21st September or any other day, in conflict areas worldwide, local people are building peace, NOT UNO or its sister organisations. Stopping violence, saving lives, healing shattered communities. These are the real heroes.

For answers, solutions, creative ideas, Holistic Development of the World, read my encyclopedic book World Without Wars published by IAEWP in 2009. It contains a blueprint to create borderless, weaponless, classless, drugless World Family, by Caring and Sharing. It was nominated thrice for Nobel Peace Prize. But the powers that be (behind the scene) did not select it, like Mahatma Gandhi was not selected for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Leo Rebello


Want a More Democratic UN? Give It a Parliament by Jo Leinen and Andreas Bummel

21 Aug 2015 – As we approach the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, we’re moving further into a new century with many of the old, deficient institutions of the last century left untouched.

After two devastating world wars and the horrors of the Holocaust, the United Nations was founded as a means to promote peace and security, human rights, and development. Since then, global challenges have multiplied and intensified. Climate change, social disparity, financial instability, food security, terrorism, and genocide are issues that affect all of the world’s citizens. There is no way back from growing global interdependence.

At the same time, most of the world’s nations have adopted governance structures that are at least nominally democratic. The spread of democracy since 1945 is a revolutionary achievement.

In addition, states have established important regional organizations to facilitate political and economic cooperation, to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and to deal with other transnational issues.

But the astounding progress of democracy at the national and regional levels has mostly been ignored at the level of international organizations. The emergence of a global society and the diversity of political opinions present in democratic states are not reflected in the machinery of the United Nations.

It is no longer acceptable that UN decision-making primarily, if not exclusively, represents only the executive branch of national governments. The challenges confronting the world community today are challenges that nation-states acting alone cannot solve in an effective, democratic, and legitimate way.

All democracies have parliamentary bodies, and indeed almost all regional international organizations have parliamentary bodies. Now the United Nations must embark on this goal, giving legitimacy and meaning to the Charter’s opening invocation: “We, the Peoples of the United Nations.”

The United Nations and its General Assembly, the most universal body in the international legal order, must now seriously begin to add a more democratic, parliamentary dimension to its formal structure.

It is now widely accepted that representative parliaments are an indispensable element of good and democratic governance. This should apply at the international level as well. The UN needs to practice what it preaches. If the UN is to continue effectively supporting peace, human rights, and democratic development, it needs to become more inclusive, accountable, transparent and democratic.

Efforts to add a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, UNPA, in the first years of the UN were not successful. The Cold War threatened human survival, while most of the world’s peoples were governed by autocratic regimes and struggled for liberty, independence, and an end to colonialism. The world lacked experience with international parliamentary bodies.

Today, the conditions are very different. It may take years to devise a plan and procedures for a fair, democratic, effective, and independent UN Parliamentary Assembly. But it’s now long past time to begin. At first, a UNPA could be composed of representatives of national or regional parliaments. At a later stage, there should be a transition to direct elections.

Global support for the idea is growing. To date, an international appeal for the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly has been signed by 1,400 sitting and former members of parliament from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of other distinguished personalities from all walks of life, including former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Last month, the report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance, which is co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gambari, recommended the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Network as a step towards “the creation of a standing, formally constituted UN second chamber.”

Through a UN Parliamentary Assembly, elected representatives who are accountable to their constituents would be able to play a role in the world organization. They could provide oversight of international decision-making and serve as a link between the world’s citizens, civil society, and the UN.

The assembly would allow for participation of parliamentarians who do not belong to governing parties. It could serve as a platform to give greater voice to minorities, indigenous peoples and nations, and youth and other international stakeholders. It could provide additional international accountability and oversight for government action on the new Sustainable Development Goals.

A UNPA is no panacea. But it would make the UN much more inclusive and strengthen its ability to cope with global challenges.

Source : Transcend Media Service


4 July 2015: World Citizen Declaration of Inter-Dependence

In 1776, progress for humanity required the first act of decolonization as leaders in the English colonies of North America consciously broke the bonds with the colonial English government. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was a positive act to affirm human dignity in opposition to an English government dominated by a small aristocratic class and a King who represented these narrow economic and class interests.

In 2015, as Citizens of the World, we affirm the unity of humanity, the impossibility of cutting bonds with others. Thus we re-affirm the inter-dependence of humanity. Today, world progress moves from affirming US citizenship as separate from England in 1776 to affirming world citizenship in 2015.

Rene Wadlow, President,
Association of World Citizens

Thank you very much for this very clear idea. It does represent, in a strongly concentrated manner, all the complexity of to-day's world and, as such, the absolute necessity to think at world level whenever a serious problem occurs. It means that the so-called and so much venerated independance of states, whether big or small, belongs to history. But it has almost entirely disappeared everywhere. (Bernard Chuzeville)


Impact of Global Climate Change: World Citizens Prepare for 2015 Paris Climate Conference

The short but high-level meeting on 23-24 September, 2014 at the United Nations in New York of Heads of State or Government has focused attention on issues of the impact of climate change due to global warming. The government officials are meeting after the 21 September marches and activities of civil society and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which highlighted the need for action to defend the ecological dimensions of the planet.

Citizens of the World affirm that cooperation is an absolute necessity for the next steps in human evolution. People throughout the world are increasingly realizing that each of us is inter-connected with every other person through the air we breath and the systems of water and life in all its forms.

Citizens of the World believe that it is through our daily choices of action that we move towards what we envisage as a desirable tomorrow. Therefore, we need to develop ideas and values which promote cooperation to protect the planet. We are weaving a deeper and broader relationship with Mother Earth. This great work is going steadily forward, and our daily actions are steps on the path to a better world in love and trust.

As Citizens of the Wold, we point out that a great challenge of our time is to build and nurture ecologically-sound communities - social, cultural, and physical environments in which we can fulfill our needs and aspirations without diminishing the chances of future generations. An ecologically-sound community is designed in such a way that its businesses, economy, physical structures and technologies do not interfere with Nature's ability to sustain life.

These high-level meetings in New York are basically to prepare a negotiation conference to be held in Paris next year, 2015. In the coming months, NGOs in consultative status with the UN must prepare their position papers and proposals for the Paris meeting. However, governments develop their positions at least six months prior to such world conferences. Thus as World Citizens we must develop by early January 2015 policy proposals which we can present to national governments which are preparing their national policies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the chief institution for the preparation of policy proposals for intergovernmental conferences. However, for such a conference on climate and environmental issues, other ministries are involved: agriculture, environment etc. Thus it is useful to see which ministries can be involved so that we may send policy statements to each ministry involved in the preparations.

These are important tasks for World Citizens, and I am sure that many will wish to be deeply involved.

Rene Wadlow,
President, Association of World Citizens


In tribute to Garry Davis

As a citizen of the world and concerned that the events of 1948 which promoted the political will of citizens of the world to world unity are a reference, I am quite positive that these facts are clearly identified by historians and materialized to the public and accessible by a symbol in the newspaper .

This symbol can be the name of a street, a square, a bridge, or otherwise.

Yet our Paris team is busy with the creation of the event from January 14 to remember that Albert Camus was not only a great writer , but he was firmly committed to a definitive choice between hell and Therefore, by installing a " People's Assembly " emerged from the global masses ... " Because nothing less can serve us. "

When our team has completed this work, it will be available to undertake the work of memory around the personality Garry Davis. It should consist of a folder and campaign to completion . Several deadlines to provide us :

  • 2014 : the campaign for the municipal elections in Paris
  • 2018 : the seventieth anniversary of the events of 1948
  • 2021: the centenary of the birth of Garry Davis.

But above all ! : Garry Davis is one who has abandoned his nationality to be placed under the protection of the United Nations. This gesture is not tied to any nation , no state , no territory. It is symbolic . It is timeless . It is universal . That is why they are all citizens of the world through the entire planet who can grasp that and get where they are there is such a universal anchorage by use of the name Garry Davis or even better ! ideas which he was the prophet.

Daniel Durand
2013, November 27


World citizenship: The Emergence of a World Society, by René Wadlow

As world citizens (www.worldcitizensunited.org), we participate fully in the emergence of a world society. It is a planetary process that embraces us all. The emergence of the world society does not call us to abandon the past, only to look beyond it. History does not end but settles down to new structures and new patterns. We can affect the pace, the intensity, and to some extent, the direction of this process. We are moving in new directions; thus we need to be ready to act creatively and to have a deeper planetary awareness. This greater planetary awareness leads to cooperation of all people and institutions to meet the global challenges and opportunities of our time.


Culture of War and Militaristic Culture of Peace by Charles Mercieca

A careful study of history reveals that while people in general always opted for peace through dialogues on a mutually beneficial basis, their public officials often tended to resort to struggles and wars to get what they want. As a result people suffered immensely. Their houses were destroyed and several of their family members and friends lost their lives or got maimed for life. Every era of history revealed conflicts between the culture of war and that of peace. Each time the culture of war proved disastrous while that of peace was beneficial.

Culture of War

Unfortunately, the culture of war has proved always to be dominant in the world at large. This is revealed in the fact that there are very few nations which had the courage to abolish the military. Such nations have managed to live in peace for very long periods in spite of the turmoil that might have surrounded their boarders. One clear example is Costa Rica, (To be continued)


Philosophy of violence in operation, by Charles Mercieca

A careful study of recorded history reveals that humans in general have often tended to resolve their differences through violent wars. They have never learned that in a war everyone is a loser and no one a winner. However, the worst part of this story lies in the fact that tens of thousands of innocent people, amounting to millions, are massacred brutally. Those who are responsible for such a massacre refer to those unjustly killed merely as collateral damage!

Wars Tinted with Corruption

To this end, many books were written to enable people judge properly and objectively the organizers and promoters of wars. (to be continued


The Emerging World Community

Today, the world is not yet a community. Plagued by armed conflicts and violations of fundamental human rights, the world lacks the political institutions and the shared values that could replace a culture of competition and mistrust with a culture of cooperation and non-violence. Such a world community must be carefully constructed with deliberate effort. This is the task of citizens of the world.

Today, the interplay of various actors and forces shaping the current process of globalization can be seen as a crude prelude to an organized world community. The combination of actions of national and international public authorities, such as the United Nations system, of business corporations, intellectuals acting publicly, and non-governmental organizations are the building stones of a world community.

We see that humanity has been slowly, often through tragic means, moving steadily to a world community, from village to state, to multi-state region, and now to the entire world. We see that human history has a direction and a sense of purpose: a world community which provides the framework for the full development of each person.

A world community is an ambitious goal as it requires generosity and solidarity from all its members. Solidarity is a universally-understood value. A family, a village, a state requires the solidarity of its members to survive.

Citizens of the world have stressed that at the world level there must be both solidarity as well as a non-violent struggle for fair economic arrangements and for economic justice. World Citizens stress that a world community requires a strong ethical basis, with clear moral directions based on human rights. A world community is the next step for human progress.

Rene Wadlow


The Violation of the Human Rights of Persons Considered as Non-citizens

The Association of World Citizens (AWC) is particularly concerned with the violation by some States of the human rights of ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities by depriving them of citizenship and considering them as “non-citizens”. This measure deprives such persons of the ability to use avenues of redress open to citizens such as voting, holding public office and often public employment. Other avenues may also be closed off and forms of discrimination and marginalization can take place.

The Association of World Citizens has raised with government officials and other non-governmental organizations the issue of non-citizenship of many Kurds in Syria. Recently some 250,000 Kurds have been granted Syrian citizenship, largely as a measure to gain support by the government in the civil war there. However, the status and degree of autonomy of the Kurdish population remains an issue in the war.

The AWC has also raised the issue of the non-citizenship status of the Rohinga, a Muslim minority, largely of Bengali origin, in Myanmar (Burma). There has been violence against the Rohinga causing many to flee to Bangladesh and elsewhere. The violence against the Rohinga is an obstacle on the path to greater democracy and the rule of law within Myanmar.

The AWC now wishes to highlight the non-citizen status of persons usually referred to as “Russians” within Latvia. This issue has been addressed previously by European institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe.

However, the AWC believes that the human rights and rule-of-law principles are of a universal character and so deserve a response from world citizens including those outside Europe. A petition has been created by the Non-Citizen Association of Latvia. Signing the petition can be a measure of support, and the AWC will study other avenues of action, especially through the United Nations.

During the period when Latvia was incorporated into the USSR, a large number of ethnic Russians as well as Belarusians, Ukrainians, Roma and others migrated to work and live in the Baltic States, including Latvia.

With the Latvia Declaration of independence in May 1990, the Latvian Parliament passed a resolution “On the Renewal of the Rights of Citizens of the Republic of Latvia and Fundamental Principles of Naturalization” which in practice divided the residents of Latvia into two major categories: Latvian citizens, approximately two thirds and Latvian non-citizens, approximately one third.

While a certain amount of resentment against non-Latvians in 1990 could be expected, the resentment has, over 20 years later, hardened into structural discrimination.

Therefore, Citizens of the World structured in the Association of World Citizens, call upon the Parliament of Latvia to reform its citizenship laws to allow presently “stateless citizens” to participate fully in civic and social society. The petition open for signatures is found on www.noncitizens.eu. I am among the early signers.

Rene Wadlow


NEW AGE GLOBAL REVOLUTION IN CLEAR PROGRESS

NEW AGE GLOBAL REVOLUTION IN CLEAR PROGRESS: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy my home town (Fort Wayne), Occupy Detroit, Occupy the World, By Constance_Cumbey

This IS the New Age Movement's long awaited global revolution in progress. How much more evidence do we need?

Oh, and remember Rene Wadlow, an activist with Lucis Trust, the Theosophists, and World Citizens? He issued his own hoped for prognostication of the meaning of "Occupy Wall Street." It looks as if they may have BIG PLANS for next spring just as they did in 1981 and early 1982

The Day of the Citizens of the World

The passage at midnight between 20 March and 21 March marks the central moment of the Day of the Citizens of the World. It is the start of the Spring Solstice and is celebrated in countries influenced by Persian culture such as Iran, Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics as Navruz (Nawroz), the start of the New Year. It is a period of renewal, of new beginnings, and a time of recognition that we are all citizens of the world bound together in a common destiny.

The Spring Solstice as the Day of the Citizens of the World marks a profound regard for cycles. Every cycle has a beginning, a middle, and an end; and nearly every cycle is followed by another. It was this sensitivity to cycles of change that served as the basis for the Chinese philosophy embodied in the I Ching – the Book of Changes. In the Richard Wilhelm translation, the text for the hexagram Fu advises “This is the moment, but it is not brought about by force…the moment is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason, the transformation of the old becomes easy…Therefore, it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth…The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that it may lead to a flowering.”

The Spring Solstice is an intrinsically meaningful cosmic-terrestrial event and at the same time serves as a powerful symbol for the deepest processes of transformation in the individual and collective human psyche. Wisdom consists in knowing one’s place in any given cycle and what kind of action (or restraint from action) is appropriate for that phase. What is constructive at one time may be destructive at another.

Thus, the passage from an international system based on States to a world society based on the vision of world citizenship is a transition which flows naturally, without violence and without a destruction of the old. World Citizenship is based on a broad awareness of the ways the planet Earth is inter-related — what happens in one part of the world or to one group of people has an impact on all others.

The Spring Solstice — Day of the Citizens of the World — is placed under the sign of Hermes Trismegistus (the thrice-great Hermes) who is said to have lived in Egypt at the time of Moses. As a priest and an older man, Hermes would naturally have taught Moses about the Light in which we live, move and have our being. Hermes was also thought to have been the teacher of Orpheus, who passed on the teaching concerning the order of the world to Pythagoras and Plato. Thus, there is, in the tradition of the Alchemists, the symbol of Aurea Catena — the Golden Chain — an unbroken series of wise persons — women and men— from Hermes Trimegistus to the present, a chain which also symbolizes the links between heaven and earth.

This Aurea Catena chain is depicted in a 1488 mosaic of the Sienna Cathedral, Italy, where we see two figures, one from the East and one from the West coming to receive instruction from Hermes. Knowledge and Wisdom flowing toward both the East and the West is a key symbol of world citizenship. Thus the Day of the Citizens of the World is placed under the sign of the thrice-great Hermes.

The current financial-economic crisis has brought the realization to many that we are all associated in one world. The decisions of a few can have an impact on the many. If this is true for the negative impact of financial decisions, it is also true for positive actions. Thus the Day of the Citizens of the World can be a day for greater awareness of the need for cooperation and mutual action. The Day calls for individual commitment and responsibility.Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Charming! Well, it's now happening. Expect them all to come out of the woodwork!


The Three Waves of Modern World Citizen Action Rene Wadlow—

The idea of world citizenship has been put forward in periods when the existing structures of inter- State relations were fragile and endangering life and society: by Socrates when the classic Greek city states were under strain; by the Stoics when the Roman Republic was being transformed into the Empire; at the Renaissance as, again, the city-States were too narrow a framework for the expanding cultural renewal; by Anacharsis Cloots at the time of the French Revolution; by some of the Abolitionists during the US Civil War when equality between free and slave was at stake.

In the same way, modern world citizen action has been a response to important challenges faced by the world community. Individuals who saw the dangers of traditional ways of thinking and inaction have acted together to promote loyalty to humanity as a whole.

There have been three waves of modern world citizenship action. The First Wave was manifested in 1938 by the creation in England by Hugh Schonfield of the Commonwealth of World Citizens. This was a response to the growing power in Europe and Japan of narrowly nationalistic dictatorships. Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany was the outstanding representative of this dangerous aggressive nationalism.

Likewise, the following year, 1939, the Association of World Citizens was created when the clouds of war had gathered, and an ideology in opposition to narrow nationalism was required. The Association began at the same time in England and the USA by persons who had been active in the League of Nations. Salvador De Madariaga who had represented Republican Spain at the League, Henri Bonnet who had headed the Intellectual Cooperation Section of the League, and James Avery Joyce, a young British lawyer active in youth efforts for the League of Nations.

The First Wave of world citizen action was unable to prevent the Second World War. The war ended the possibility of active cooperation among members. Thus the war ended the First Wave, although many of those active on the eve of the war helped to form the Second Wave of world citizen action.

The Second Wave was a response to the massive destruction of the Second World War, of the use of atomic bombs, and the divisions of the world. Led by Lord Boyd Orr, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), world citizens were particularly active in efforts against hunger and for a world food policy. 1948 and the proclamation by the UN General Assembly meeting in Paris of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the high point of the Second Wave. In 1950, the start of the Korean War and the structuring of the Cold War into military alliances — NATO and the Warsaw Pact — put an end to the Second Wave of world citizen action. However, many world citizens were active in the 1950-1990 Cold War period to lessen the dangers of Soviet-USA confrontation, to abolish nuclear weapons, and to bring colonialism to an end.

The Third Wave of world citizen action can be dated from the1990 end of the Cold War. The Third Wave is a response to the challenge of narrow nationalism and narrow ethnic and tribal loyalties and an unwillingness to cooperate with others. Narrow nationalism has led to the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and to conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Thus since 1990, the Association of World Citizens has been working on conflict-prone societies by encouraging inclusive policies and democratic development. The aim of the Association of World Citizens is to develop strategies for the benefit of all humanity and to promote efforts based on justice and cooperation.

24/05/2013

In addition to the Citizens-of-the-World-Report.webnode.fr world citizen essays and policies are found on www.worldcitizensunited.org with Links to other websites as well;


Sri Lanka: Four Years after the war’s end, little reconciliation, few creative changes by René Wadlow

On 19 May 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka proclaimed an end to the fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan (LTTE) led by Veluppilai Pirabhakaran. At one point, the LTTE controlled a quarter of Sri Lanka’s territory as they pressed their campaign for an independent state for the country’s Tamil minority.

The start of the armed conflict in 1983 provoked the concern and then the intervention of the Government of India concerned with regional security and the impact of the violence on its own Tamil population in Tamil Nadu, south India. (To be continued)


Korean tensions

Dear Colleagues,

Citizens of the World Call for a UN-led Korean Peace Settlement Conference and for diplomatic measures to reverse the tensions on the Korean Peninsula
Renbé Wadlow

Korea: Crisis and Opportunity

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently increased, highlighted by the nuclear weapon test of North Korea and the subsequent reactions. In a 14 March 2013 message to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Rene Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens, stressed that a crisis also can be an opportunity for strong initiatives and action. The United Nations with historic responsibilities for Korea should take the lead.

With conditions of insecurity growing, and also threatening Korea’s neighbours, the Korean situation is a “mater which may threaten international peace and security.” There, the Citizens of the World call for a UN-led Korean Peace Settlement Conference to be organized during 2013 — the 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice.

In addition to UN leadership, there is a need for strong diplomatic measures by concerned states, in particular the two Koreas, China, Russia, the USA, and Japan.

In the past, there have been a series of dangerous but ultimately resolvable crises concerning the two Korean states. However, there are always dangers of miscalculations and unnecessary escalation of threats. Past crises have led to partial measures of threat reduction.

Partial measures of cooperation between the two Korean states, the Six-Party talks on nuclear issues and a number of Track II diplomatic efforts have shown the possibilities but also the limits of partial measures.

Therefore the Association of World Citizens stresses the need for a broader, comprehensive approach to Northeast Asia security that could be structured within a UN-sponsored Korean Peace Settlement Conference, now that all the states which participated in the 1950-1953 Korean War are members of the United Nations.

Citizens of the World also stress that such a Peace Settlement Conference is of concern not only to Governments but is one in which the voices of civil society are legitimate and should be heard.

*Rene Wadlow, President,
Association of World Citizens
Updated 04/04/2013


Perspective of the Most Violent Nation in the Civilized World by Charles Mercieca

Over the past few decades, the United States has emerged to become the most violent nation in the civilized world. This did not happen overnight. In fact, we can trace this nation’s source of violence to the draft of its Constitution, which has now emerged to become the nation’s dangerous enemy. Jesus of Nazareth described the human being as homo hominis lupus, which may be translated as man is his own worst enemy.

Enactment of US Constitution

Although the US Constitution was written in good faith, a couple of centuries later a small segment of it has become malignant and it needs now to be removed. We know that when one develops a cancer, such a malady becomes a threat to one’s life and needs to be taken away. The more we delay removing it the more it may spread beyond hope before we know it. The malignant tumor in the US Constitution is found in the phrase: the right to bear arms. (following)


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When will we finally have a world government?

Political scientists and science fiction writers alike have long been taken with the idea that humans would one day form a global government. Yet few of us take this prospect very seriously, often dismissing it as an outright impossibility or very far off in the future. Given the rapid pace of globalization, however, it would seem that humanity is inexorably headed in this direction. So how long will it take us to build a world government? We talked to an expert to find out.

To help us better understand this issue, we contacted sociologist James Hughes from Trinity College in Connecticut. Hughes, an ardent supporter of global government, feels that it's an idea whose time has come.

"We need world government for the same reason that we need government in general," he told us. "There are a number of things - what we can agree are collective goods - that individuals, markets, voluntary organizations, and local governments aren't able to produce - and which can only be provided through the collective action of states."

Hughes, whose thinking was significantly influenced by the Star Trekian vision of a global-scale liberal democracy, argues that there a number of things that only a world government is capable of doing - like ending nuclear proliferation, ensuring global security, intervening to end genocide, and defending human rights. He also believes that it will take a global regime to finally deal with climate change, and that it's the best chance we have to launch civilization-scale projects, including the peaceful and controlled colonization of the solar system.

The trick, he says, is to get there. But by all accounts, it appears that we're on our way.

The thrust of history

Indeed, it certainly looks as if humanity is naturally headed in this direction; the prospect of a global government has been on the political radar for centuries.

The ancient Greeks and Romans prophesied of a single common political authority for all of humanity, as did many philosophers of the European Enlightenment, especially Immanuel Kant.

More recently, the urge has manifest in the form of international organizations like the League of Nations, which later re-emerged as the United Nations - efforts that were seen as a way to bind the international community together and prevent wars from occurring.

But today, cynicism rules. The great powers, countries like the United States, Russia, and China, feel they have the most to lose by deferring to a higher, more global-scale authority. It's for this and other reasons that the UN has been completely undermined.

But as Hughes points out, opposition or not, the thrust of history certainly points to the achievement of a world government. Citing the work of Robert Wright and Steven Pinker, Hughes argues that our units of government are increasingly expanding to cover larger numbers of people and larger territories - a trend that has encouraged the flourishing of commerce and the suppression of violence.

A quick survey shows that the world is undergoing a kind of political consolidation. In addition to cultural and economic globalization, human societies are also bringing their political entities together. Various regions of the world have already undergone successful unions, the most prominent being China. The United States has already done it, but it took a hundred years and a civil war that killed 2% of its citizens.

And of course, there's Europe. It's currently undergoing a well-earned and peaceful political unification process. But like Americans, Europeans didn't take the easy path. The two World Wars of the twentieth century are often seen as a part of the same overarching conflict - a European civil war in which various colonial, political, and ideological interests fought to force the direction of the consolidation process.

"The process is messy and fitful, but inexorable," says Hughes. "Every time Europe seems ready to unravel, the logic of a tighter union pushes them forward - as it did just last week into the new European banking union agreements."

But as Hughes notes, the problems Europe faces in convincing states to give up sovereignty to transnational authorities are precisely the same problems that are faced at the global level - but with a hundred times the difficulty.

"That is if this century doesn't create new economic, cultural and communication forces for political globalization, and then new catastrophic threats to make the need for global governance inescapable, which it is very likely to do," says Hughes. And by "catastrophic threats," he's referring to the ongoing perils of climate change, terrorism, and emerging technologies.

And indeed, there are other examples of political consolidation outside of Europe. Africa is slowly but surely moving towards an African Union, as is South America. North America is currently bound by NAFTA, and Canada has even considered forging an agreement with the EU.

The end of isolationism

As Hughes is quick to point out, the threat of being shunned and outcast by the larger international community is a powerful motivator for a country to adopt more beneficent policies.

"This has provided an ecological advantage to larger governments and federal structures so that holdouts like Burma eventually give up their isolation," he says. "The irony of the process is that the creation of federal transnational structures supports the political independence of local groups."

Without the political pressure and direct military intervention of NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations, says Hughes, we would have never realized an independent Kosovo, South Sudan, or East Timor. Moreover, he argues, if Turks weren't anxious to remain on good terms with Europe and other international actors, they would likely be far more repressive to the Kurds - and the same is probably true vis-à-vis Israelis and Palestinians, and other conflicts.

"Transnational governance already puts pressure on the nation-states that limit how much repression they can enact against minorities, but it is obviously inadequate when we are still powerless to help Tutsis, Tibetans, Chinese Muslims, or Chechens," says Hughes. "The stronger our transnational judiciaries, legislatures, and military and economic enforcement of world law gets, the more effectively we can protect minority rights."

Moreover, the withering away of the sovereign nation-state could be seen as a good thing. As Kenneth Waltz noted in his seminal 1959 book, Man, the State, and War, the ongoing presence of the traditional nation-state will only continue to heighten the possibility of armed conflict.

Hughes agrees. He sees political globalization as a developmental path that will eventually limit government powers.

"As George Orwell graphically depicted in 1984, the endless pitting of nation-states against one another is the most powerful rationale for the power of oppressive government," he told us.

A danger of global repression?

There is, of course, a dark side to having a global government. There's the potential, for example, for a singular and all-powerful regime to take hold, one that could be brutally oppressive - and with no other nation states to counter its actions.

It's well known, for example, that the Nazis envisioned a global government, what the democracies correctly assessed as a threat to liberal values, democracy, freedom of thought - and the lives of millions (if not billions) of innocent people. As a result of the ensuing tragedy, some critics of global government warn that we shouldn't put all our eggs in one political basket. Having sovereign and politically disparate nation-states is a safeguard against the rise of a monolithic and all-encompassing regime.

But Hughes contends that political expansion has helped to suppress despotism and the defense of individual and minority rights - from the establishing of voting rights for black Americans to the European Court of Justice's decisions on reproductive and sexual minority rights.

"That was not, of course, the case with the Soviet Union, so the anxiety that a powerful United Nations full of undemocratic states would be an anti-democratic force in the world was entirely justified during the Cold War," he told io9. "While the spread of democracy has made a liberal democratic global federalism increasingly likely, progressives will nonetheless sometimes face issues where global policy would be reactionary, and local autonomy needs to be defended until the balance of forces change."

Indeed, should a global governance arise, it would be prudent to enshrine fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms to prevent an authoritarian or totalitarian catastrophe. And at the same time, charters should be implemented to guarantee the rights of minority groups.

Global government when?

It's obviously difficult to predict when a global government can be achieved given that there's no guarantee that it will ever happen. As noted, the great powers will be very reluctant to give up what they consider to be sovereignty rights. And in the case of China and other countries, there are other potential deal-breakers, such as the ongoing isolationist urge, xenophobia, and incompatible political/ideological beliefs.

But given the pace of accelerating change across virtually all human domains, it may happen sooner than we think. It's not unreasonable to predict some manner of global governance taking shape in the latter half of the 20th century.

At the same time, however, a global government won't happen merely because it's deemed desirable.

"Without a vision the people perish," says Hughes. "If we want to see democratic globalization we have to openly point towards it as the goal."

He recommends that supporters join world federalist organizations like the Citizens for Global Solutions, the Union of European Federalists, or the World Federalist Movement.

"Advocates should put global federalist solutions forward as the most obvious way to address global problems - even if such solutions appear currently chimerical. The world is changing quickly and what appears utopian today may appear obvious tomorrow," he says.

We asked Hughes if he thinks that global governance can actually be achieved.

"I do believe it is possible to eventually achieve a global directly-elected legislature, complemented by global referenda and a global judiciary, controlling a global law enforcement military, and supported by global taxes like the Tobin Tax," he responded.

But there are a lot of other ways that political globalization can provide peace and prosperity short of that.

For example, progress could be measured by the incremental strengthening of all the agencies of transnational governance, from regional bodies like the EU and African Union, to treaty enforcement mechanisms like the WTO, IAEA and ITU, to the United Nations.

"I believe all those bodies will grow in importance and clout over the coming century," he told us, "propelled by the growth of transnational political movements, such as the world federalist movement, NGOs, the Socialist International, and other social movements."

George Dvorsky
19/12/2012

 


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How to Bring Government under Full Control

Throughout history the government always tended to be viewed as the most powerful element in a nation. This may be due to the fact that the elements of destruction are always in its hands. Such elements are the military and the police force, both of which carry weapons of devastation that are often used abusively. In general, they are hardly ever held accountable for the destruction of the infrastructure of cities and the incarceration of even law-abiding citizens.

Means of People’s Control

The said two elements are generally used to bring entire populations under full control. Under such circumstances the concepts of justice and democracy tend to become meaningless for all practical purposes. As a result, people often experience a kind of tyranny that forces them to rebel fearlessly, as we have observed in many nations since World War II was over in 1945. Recent examples were those in Libya, Egypt, and Syria in addition to others. People may tolerate abuse even for a long time until they draw the line by all means. (following)


Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is an extremely important validation of our ideas. All the fuss about the European financial crisis is irrelevant - the response of the media has been extremely disappointing. . The original purpose of the founders of the European Union, led by Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman and others, was to put an end to the succession of wars in Europe, particularly between France and Germany. That great purpose they have achieved, and that achievement well deserves the award of the Nobel Prize, far more so than some other awards that have been made.

I attach a copy of the preamble to the Schuman Declaration, the founding document of the European Coal and Steel Community, which evolved over time into the European Union. The intentions of the founders are laid out very clearly there. Some excerpts:

"World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it."

"In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war."

"Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany."

"The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims. The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible."

"..this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of

peace."

So the founders were clearly aiming at a European federation, in order to preserve peace in Europe. We are trying to promote exactly the same idea on a global scale. The European example is being followed by several other regions around the globe, and remains the most promising template for global integration also.

All the best, from

Chris Hamer.(from Sydney, Australia)
15/10/12


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Economic Sanctions: Balancing Principles, National Interests and the Advancement of World Law

The ongoing UN Security Council discussions concerning sanctions against Syria and greater US and European Union sanctions against Iran have brought to the fore the justice, aims and effectiveness of economic sanctions and the prohibition of arms sales to countries in conflict. These are issues of import ance, and my aim is to call attention to the issues and some of the policy-making implications. I have no specific answers beyond the belief that sanctions could lead to good-faith negotiations while military intervention will not. The theory of economic sanctions is far from being sufficiently sophisticated at present to explain the complex behaviour of the States that impose sanctions and those that are the target.

As David Cortright and George Lopez point out in the book they edited on sanctions (following)


World Citizens call for urgent action to end human trafficking — a modern-day slave trade. by René Wadlow

January 11 was in some countries a “National Day of Awareness on Human Trafficking”. While ‘awareness’ is always a first step, it is action that is needed as was underlined by the Association of World Citizens in a message to the Chairman of the UN Human Rights Council. The recent increase in the scope, intensity and sophistication of trafficking of human beings around the world threatens the safety of citizens everywhere and hinders countries in their social, economic, and cultural development.

The smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of human beings for prostitution and slave labor have become two of the fastest growing worldwide problems of recent years. From Himalayan villages to Eastern European cities — especially women and girls — are attracted by the prospects of a well-paid job as a domestic servant, waitress or factory worker. Traffickers recruit victims through fake advertisements, mail-order bride catalogues, casual acquaintances, and even family members. (following)


The Growing UN Role of UN-Consultative-Status NGOs by René Wadlow

There is growing interest in the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the United Nations system in the making and the implementation of policies at the international level. This interest is reflected in a number of path-making studies such as P. Willets(Ed.) The Consciences of the World: The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations in the UN System (London: Hurst, 1996), T. Princen and M. Finger (Eds) Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Global and the Local (London: Routledge, 1994), M.Rech and K. Sikkink Activists Without Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), Bas Arts, Math Noortmann and Rob Reinalda (Eds) Non-State Actors in International Relations (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001) and William De Mars NGOs and Transnational Networks (London: Pluto Press, 2005). (following)


Ban on Cluster Weapons Upheld: World Law Significantly Strengthened by René Wadlow

World Citizens welcomed the upholding of the total ban on cluster weapons as a significant step in the development of world law. In a 28 November 2011 message to Dr Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Association of World Citizens (AWC) welcomed the strong leadership of the ICRC to prevent a weakening of the international treaty imposing a comprehensive ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale of cluster munitions. The treaty, often called the Oslo Convention as negotiations began in Oslo in February 2007, was reviewed in November 2011 at the United Nations in Geneva as part of the review of the Convention on Prohibition on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects — the “1980 Inhumane Weapons Convention” to its friends. (following)


Vaclav Havel (1936-2011): His Revolt is an Attempt to Live Within the Truth by René Wadlow

He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth.”Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel, the former President of the Czech Republic, who moved to another dimension on 18 December 2011, had analysed that “There are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born.

It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, arises from the rubble.

The distinguishing features of transitional periods are a mixing and blending of cultures and a plurality of intellectual and spiritual worlds. These are periods when all consistent value systems collapse, when cultures distant in time and space are discovered or rediscovered. New meaning is gradually born from the encounter, or the intersection, of many different elements…Politicians are rightly worried by the problems of finding the key to ensure the survival of a civilization that is global and multicultural: how respected mechanisms of peaceful coexistence can be set up and on what principles they are to be established.” Vaclav Havel goes on to suggest the principles: “All my observations and all my experience have, with remarkable consistency, convinced me that, if today’s planetary civilization has any hope of survival, that hope lies chiefly in what we understand as the human spirit.” (following)


SYRIA: REFORMS AND URGENT MEDIATION

Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up. Studs Terkel

The situation in Syria has reached a critical turning point. The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that “civil war” could break out among communities in Syria if the conflict continues as it is. There is a possibility that popular protests continue as they have since mid-March and that they continue to be met by military and police violence in violation of the spirit and letter of humanitarian international law. The Syrian army and militias have responded to unarmed nonviolent demonstrations with disproportionate force. Humanitarian international law has as its base the Martens Clause named after the legal advisor of the Russian Czar at the time of the Hague Peace Conferences. The clause is included in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention. It is taken up again in Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949. The Martens Clause states that “the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited” but must meet the test of ‘proportionality’ meaning that every resort to armed force be limited to what is necessary for meeting military objectives. The shooting of unarmed demonstrators does not meet the test of proportionality. (following)


16 October - World Food Day - World Citizen Action

Since the hungry billion in the world community believe that we can all eat if we set our common house in order, they believe also that it is unjust that some men die because it is too much trouble to arrange for them to live.

Stringfellow Barr Citizens of the World (1952)

A central theme which citizens of the world have long stressed is that there needs to be a world food policy and that a world food policy is more than the sum of national food security programs. Food security has too often been treated as a collection of national food security initiatives. While the adoption of a national strategy to ensure food and nutrition security for all is essential, a focus on the formulation of national plans is clearly inadequate. There is a need for a world plan of action with focused attention to the role which the United Nations system must play if hunger is to be sharply reduced.

World Citizens Lord John Boyd Orr as the first Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization and Josué de Castro (following)


Palestine UN membership request
Disintegrating European Diplomacy and the Necessary Rise of NGO Mediators
by René Wadlow

On Friday 23 September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority formally requested that the UN Security Council grant Palestine full membership as a state. Currently the Palestine Liberation Movement (PLO) has an observer status as an “entity” at the UN from the time that the South African African National Congress, another South African movement, a South West African liberation group and the PLO were given “observer entity” status. With the changes in South Africa and what is now Namibia, the status of the other movements disappeared and only the PLO remains.

The request for an upgrade of status, following UN rules of procedure will be first presented to the Security Council. Nawaf Salan, Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN and the current Security Council President said that discussions on the application would start on Monday the 26th. However, it may take several weeks of backroom negotiations before the application is put to a vote. The negotiation process may be speeded up for fear that frustrations on the part of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza lead to violence. The United States has indicated that it will veto the application (following)


The Next Earth Summit: Rio Plus 20

The United Nations, its Specialized Agencies and programmes, member governments and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are preparing their policies and evaluations to be discussed at the next Earth Summit to be held in Rio de Janeiro so in June 2012: 20 years after the original 1992 Rio conference that drew up guidelines for ecologically-sound development for the 21st century expressed as Agenda 21. Thus the 2012 conference is popularly called Rio Plus 20.

The conference will have two main themes: sustainable societies and the abolition of poverty. Sustainable societies — what I prefer to call ‘ecologically-sound development’ requires policies and actions at the local, the national, the multi-state region and the world level. We need to find the structures for a common management of the planet to deal with climate change, the erosion of biodiversity, and persistent poverty. (following)


Peace Education: Source of National Unity and Global Harmony

The Webster Dictionary of the English Language describes peace as a “state of tranquility; freedom from war; cessation of hostilities; and harmony.” In a peaceful community, we notice a great serenity radiating in the hearts of its members. Genuine peace emanates from the inside. It is implanted in the mind and heart of every human being from the moment of birth. Our job is to pull this element out from the inside as to share it with others. (following)


World Citizens call for a Thai-Cambodian Peace Zone: From Periodic Flair-ups to Permanent Cooperation.

In a 23 April Appeal to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Rene Wadlow, Senior Vice-President and Representative to the UN, Geneva, Association of World Citizens called for renewed efforts to promote a zone of peace along the Thai-Cambodian frontier where fighting had broken out on Good Friday, 22 April, and was continuing on Saturday the 23rd. “Quick UN action is required to halt these periodic flair-ups and to create a zone of peace that would facilitate permanent cooperation” said the World Citizen Appeal.

The early morning Good Friday fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops took place near the ancient temples of Ta Krabey and Ta Moan Thom some 150 kilometres southwest of the better-known 900 year old Preah Vihear Temple where fighting had broken out in February. There have been repeated clashes around the Preah Vibear Temple, especially after 2008 when UNESCO enshrined Preah Vibear as a World Heritage site for Cambodia over Thai objections. The World Court had in 1962 decided that Preah Vibear was on the Cambodian side of the frontier. However the only roads for easy access to the temple are from Thailand. (following)


Beyond Global Crisis: Reflections (by Terrence Edward Paupp) by Charles Mercieca

One of our greatest academic leaders is Terrence Edward Paupp, former US National Chancellor of the International Association of Educators for World Peace. He is now the Vice President of North America. Since 2005 he wrote quite a few articles and books to reach many people working together on issues related to global peace. He wrote four major books, the last one being Beyond Global Crisis: Remedies and Roadmaps by Daisaku Ikeda and his Contemporaries.

World Peace in Perspective

Daisaku Ikeda, who is a prolific writer, is currently head of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), which is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. His well-known peace philosophy has attracted numerous followers who are now scattered across the world. For Ikeda, the first gigantic step toward the creation of a global civilization starts with our transformed inner self that enables us to seek for the solution of all problems through healthy dialogues (following)


Modernizing the United Nations System: (John E. Trent ) by Rrené Wadlow
Civil Society's Role in Moviing from International Relations to Global Governance (Opladen, Germany: Barbara Budrich Publishers, 2007, 285pp.)

Professor John Trent of the Department of Political Science, University of Ottawa, Canada sets out clearly the framework of this important study of the possible reforms of the United Nations. "Time and again, our international organizations have proven they cannot reform themselves. The reasons are manifold. There is no political will among their members. Due to built-in interests and habits, transformation of human institutions is always long and arduous. Nation-states concentrate on their own national interests. Politicians and diplomats are so busy managing the system that they have little time to think about its reform. Because of a lack of information, most citizens in most countries are unaware of the nature of international institutions and politics, and therefore feel uninvolved and incapable of influencing the global future…The world is strewn with the skeletons of noble ideas for 'perpetual peace' dating from the time of Emmanuel Kant in the 1790s. (following)


Aimé Césaire (1913 – 2008): A Black Orpheus

My negritude is not a stone,
nor deafness flung out against the clamor
of the day
my negritude is not a white speck of dead water
on the dead eye of the earth
my negritude is neither tower nor cathedral.
Return to My Native Land

On April 6, 2011, Aimé Césaire was honored by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the Pantheon, a monument in Paris where persons who have contributed to French political culture are honored. Aimé Césaire, the Martinique poet and political figure, was a cultural bridge builder between the West Indies, Europe and Africa. A poet, teacher, and political figure, he had been mayor of the capital city, Fort-de-France for 56 years from 1945 to 2001, and a member of the French Parliament without a break from 1945 to 1993 — the French political system allowing a person to be a member of the national parliament and an elected local official at the same time. First elected to Parliament as a member of the Communist Party, he had left the Party in 1956 when he felt that the Communist Party did not put anti-colonialism at the center of its efforts. (following)


Ethics in Business Education

If we were to give a rapid glance at the last 6,000 years of recorded history, we would soon discover that most problems in the world stem from the government. Needless to say, the source of such problems may vary from one country to another. The most common one could be easily traced to questionable behavior in business transactions. This is due to power-abuse in the deliberate exploitation of people. We need to keep in mind here that the end does not necessarily justify the means. In other words, we cannot succeed in life through fraud and manipulation.

Integrity of Character

We are all familiar with such traditional sayings as: (a) honesty is the best policy, (b) the art of living is the art of giving, and (c) you reap what you plant. In all of our business dealings, integrity of character becomes an indispensable element in human relations. In this regard, egoism needs to be replaced by altruism, hatred by love, arrogance by modesty, pride by humility and anger by patience. Above all, trust must become a vital element, which is indispensable for the achievement of our common goals and objectives. (following)


Create Space for Peace, by René Wadlow

“But what do you do in practice” was a question often asked of me when I started to represent Peace Brigades International (PBI) shortly after its creation in 1981 at the United Nations in Geneva. Members of the founding PBI team were friends who had asked me to be “Representative in Europe” — much too vast a field, but I said that I would be the “eyes” and when necessary, the negotiator, with diplomats at the UN in Geneva.

The first action of PBI — which has always remained my model of what the organization should have been — was to put a team of people from California who had already trained together and who knew how to use shortwave material on the Nicaraguan side of the frontier with Honduras to prevent a possible invasion of Nicaragua by US troops who were then doing military exercises with the Honduran army. (following)


8 March- Women and the People’s Revolution

It is only when women start to organise in large numbers that we become a political force, and begin to move towards the possibility of a truly democratic society in which every human being can be brave, responsible, thinking and diligent in the struggle to live at once freely and unselfishly.”

8 March is the International Day of Women and thus a time to analyse the specific role of women in local, national and the world society. 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the creation of International Women’s Day first proposed by Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1911. Later she served as a socialist-communist member of the German Parliament during the Weimar Republic which existed from 1920 to 1933 when Hitler came to power.

Zetkin who had lived some years in Paris and was active in women’s movements there was building on the 1889 International Congress for Feminine Works and Institutions held in Paris under the leadership of Ana de Walska (following)


Libya : The People’s Revolution on the March

Along with Tunisia and Egypt, the People’s Revolution is on the march in Libya. In the words of Henry A. Wallace, then Vice-President of the USA in 1942 “The people’s revolution is on the march. When the freedom-loving people march — when the farmers have an opportunity to buy land at reasonable prices and to sell the produce of their land through their own organizations, when workers have the opportunity to form unions and bargain through them collectively, and when the children of all the people have an opportunity to attend schools which teach them truths of the real world in which they live — when these opportunities are open to everyone, then the world moves straight ahead…The people are on the march toward ever fuller freedom, toward manifesting here on earth the dignity that is in every human soul.”

While the People’s Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt was largely non-violent, the revolution if Libya may turn more violent as the last of the palace guard circle around Colonel Qaddafi, his family and a small number of people with tribal ties to him (following).


Blood in the Sand: A World Citizen Protest to Repression in Libya

We, citizens of the world, determined to safeguard future generations from war, poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation, have always stood for a simple yet powerful idea: that humanity on this planet, must think of itself as one society and must unite in developing the basic policies that advance peace with justice.

The Right to Life — a reverence for life — is the core value upon which our efforts for human rights, for the resolution of conflicts, and for ecologically-sound development is based

Thus, we are encouraged by the waves of efforts for democracy and social justice that are sweeping over North Africa and the Middle East. We salute the courage of those who have brought change and an opportunity for justice in Tunisia and Egypt. The people’s revolution for dignity and social justice is on the march. The march will not be broken, although the old structures of repression try to hold back the future with force.

We are sad when we note a loss of life in different countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East, nearly always the life of a protester at the hands of the military, the police or militia forces.

We are particularly concerned with the repression and loss of life due to the forces of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Although foreign journalists have been refused entry and internet and phone lines have been disrupted, we have received reports made in good faith of widespread repression and killings by special commandoes and government-sponsored snipers. These actions seem to constitute a widespread and systematic practice.

Therefore, we first call upon the Government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to uphold universally-recognized human rights and to prevent the disproportionate use of force by its agents.

Secondly, we call upon the Member States of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has the duty to address situations of the systematic violation of human rights, to organize an Emergency Special Session to mandate a fact-finding team of independent experts to collect information on possible violations of international human rights law.

Thirdly, we call upon the representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and other representatives of civil society to raise their voices so that all will hear their determination to protect the Right to Life and Human Dignity.

When in 1931 in the USA, the Scottsboro Boys — a group of nine Blacks — were tried for rape in Alabama under conditions which prevented a fair trial, the poet Countree Cullen was listening for the voices of protest, for the calls for justice, but he heard no such cries and wondered why.

Let it not be said of us that when the blood of protesters in Libya flowed into the sand, no cries were heard.

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens
21/02/2011


World Day of Social Justice: The People’s Revolution is On The March, by René Wadlow

The United Nations General Assembly, on the initiative of Nurbch Jeenbrev, the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the U.N. in New York, has proclaimed 20 February as the “World Day of Social Justice” with an emphasis on the reduction of poverty. The “war” on global poverty has had its share of victories. Life expectancy at birth has risen in many developing countries. Education for some has resulted in rising incomes, but such education has left the uneducated further behind.

Economic growth does not help the poor much in countries where the distribution of wealth is highly unequal. The poor in many countries do not enjoy the benefits of boom times, but they shoulder the costs when there is an economic recession. As traditional family or clan-based welfare systems decline without new government-funded institutions put into place, many are marginalized. (following)


Active World Citizen Diplomacy, by Rene Wadlow

People who develop the habit of thinking of themselves as world citizens are fulfilling the first requirement of sanity in our times.

In this period of world transformations, independent voices are needed to speak directly to the representatives of governments, what has been called “Speaking Truth to Power”. Often such proposals for the peaceful settlement of disputes are called “World Citizen Diplomacy”. These are efforts to reduce violence and to create bridges between cultures. Today, we see the rise of a new spirit of liberty throughout the world. The old structures of oppression and domination are crumbling — those of caste, class, gender and nation. In place of repression, there are new institutions of popular participation. These efforts of transformation merit our understanding and support. The path may yet be hard, but the direction is set. (following)


To mark the birth anniversary on 15 January of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, here is a short article on the rise of the Global Civil Society. Best wishes, Rene

The Rise of the Global Civil Society

Rene Wadlow

There is currently a great expansion of what can be called “The Global Civil Society”— a host of commercial companies, media outlets, and non-governmental organizations ((NGOs) whose activities cross State frontiers. Often the staff members of these organizations come from a variety of countries and backgrounds. This global civil society is increasingly powerful though its power has been little analysed.

One analysis of the environmental and social justice aspect of the global civil society has been made by the English environmental activist Paul Hawken Blessed unrest: how the largest movement in the world came into being, and why no one saw it. (New York: Viking, 2007). Many of these ecological organizations have very local aims, but there is an awareness of the inter-relatedness of issues and that peace, environmental protection, ecologically-sound development and financial balance have global dimensions. (following)


2011 Higher Prices for Food : World Citizens Call for Coordinated World Food Policy by Rene Wadlow*

“Since the hungry billion in the world community believe that we can all eat if we set our common house in order, they believe also that it is unjust that some men die because it is too much trouble to arrange for them to live;”

Stringfellow Barr Citizens of the World (1952)

In its most recent January 2011 analysis of the world food situation, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted with alarm the extreme price fluctuation in global agricultural markets. This fluctuation in global agricultural markets is leading to higher food prices and is a threat to world food security. The impact falls heaviest on the poor who spend a high percentage — up to 70 percent — of their income on food. Often, the lack of dietary diversification aggravates the problem, as price increases in one staple cannot easily be compensated by switching to other foods. The United Nations estimates that one billion people worldwide do not get enough food and that this number is certain to increase as prices rise. (following)


Ivory Coast appeal by Rene Wadlow,

In a 1 January 2011 message sent to the Missions of the Ivory Coast to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, the Association of World Citizens (AWC) called for the orderly transfer of authority in the Ivory Coast. The message, co-signed by Rene Wadlow, Senior Vice-President and Representative to the UN, Geneva, and Bernard Henry, Press Officer for the AWC Office to the UN, Geneva, stated that “Citizens of the World have always maintained that for there to be effective means of global governance, the world society must be built upon a foundation of the rule of law and respect for human rights. (following)


WikiLeaks and World Citizen Diplomacy, by Rene Wadlow,

WikiLeaks’ release of a large number of US diplomatic archives gives us a broad vision of the culture of US foreign policy policy-making. Such a vision could also be gained from reading the diplomatic archives as they are published after a “25 or 50 year rule”, but it is more fun to read material of a nearer time, especially if it is classified “Secret”. Were one to have similar access to the reports of diplomats of other countries, we would have some idea of the diplomatic political culture of those countries, but the process of information collection is broadly the same. Some diplomats have more writing talent than others and can “spice up” a report with interesting comments on leaders met, but such comments are of only marginal interest unless the person described has a direct role in foreign-policy making of the country.

Diplomatic reports are added to the reports of the intelligence services and to the analysis of open documentation such as newspapers, government reports, academic studies and the like. Most information that a Foreign Ministry has comes from open sources and is then compared to what additional information comes from diplomats and intelligence operatives, interviews with businessmen and travellers. (following)


Honoring 10 December by Rene Wadlow,

10 December — Human Rights Day — marks the anniversary of 10 December 1948 when the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Since that day, as world citizens, we can take pride that we have contributed to the growth of a universal human rights movement. In all walks of life, brave individuals are standing up for their sisters and brothers who have been reduced to silence by oppression, poverty or injustice. This struggle for the respect of human rights transcends all frontiers. The struggle is based on non-violence. Our only weapons are knowledge and the life force of conviction. Human dignity must be protected by the power of knowledge. (following)


The Day of the Citizens of the World by Rene Wadlow,

The passage at midnight between 20 March and 21 March marks the central moment of the Day of the Citizens of the World. It is the start of the Spring Solstice and is celebrated in countries influenced by Persian culture such as Iran, Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics as Navruz (Nawroz), the start of the New Year. It is a period of renewal, of new beginnings, and a time of recognition that we are all citizens of the world bound together in a common destiny.

The Spring Solstice as the Day of the Citizens of the World marks a profound regard for cycles. Every cycle has a beginning, a middle, and an end; and nearly every cycle is followed by another. It was this sensitivity to cycles of change that served as the basis for the Chinese philosophy embodied in the I Ching – the Book of Changes. In the Richard Wilhelm translation, the text for the hexagram Fu advises “This is the moment, but it is not brought about by force…the moment is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason, the transformation of the old becomes easy…Therefore, it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth…The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that it may lead to a flowering.” (following)


Steps on the Long Road to Burmese Democracy ?

Can the 7 November 2010 elections in Myanmar and the end of the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi be steps on the long road to democracy in Burma or are they only timid public relations efforts? It is impossible to say if any of the newly elected members of the Parliament will show an independent spirit and make efforts to raise real questions. Nearly all the candidates were hand-picked by the ruling military, but they were not members of a political party nor did they have any experience in politics or legislation. They were picked because it was thought that they would go along with anything the military commanded. The military had 25 percent of the Parliamentary seats reserved for serving military written into the Constitution, and many of the other seats are held by military men who retired to become civilians for the election (following)


Campaign for UN Reform

WHAT WE HAVE DONE:

With all the talk about disarmament, Nuclear Zero and peaceful change, the Campaign for UN Reform in June wrote to the political parties and parliamentary factions in Berlin to support President Obama and the UN’s efforts by referring to the 1961 McCloy-Zorin Accords, unamimously adopted by the UNGA on 20 December of that year. What is so special about this agreement is that it aimed at the abolition of war as an institution.

So far we received several answers from parliamentary factions and party chairs, but no definite commitment that any of them would publicly take up the issue. Please see our correspondence online (in German):

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/peace/unitednationsreform2007/Parteien_und_Fraktionen

In addition we wrote a letter to the foreign ministers of Germany and Japan, who had issued a joint declaration this year, in favor of Nuclear Zero.

Please see the attachment, our letter in English to [former] Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, followed by a statement by Dr. Keith Payne at a Panel organized by the THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, THE NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW AND THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2010. The full Panel Report is available online at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2010/0329_nuclear_posture_review.aspx

What came to be known as the McCloy-Zorin Accords is an important document in the history of world peace. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon also referred to the Accords in his address to the East-West Institute entitled "The United Nations and security in a nuclear-weapon-free world" where he quoted from the famous speech by JF Kennedy who introduced the disarmament initiative in the UNGA on 25 September 1961. President Kennedy said, “Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.”

It may not be too far fetched to say that the gist of the agreement came to be encapsuled in Article VI of the NPT.

We would appreciate your cooperation and appropriate action.

Dr. Klaus Schlichtmann (facilitator)

Campaign for UN Reform is a German initiative to realize the UN’s Principles and Purposes by implementing the German Constitution’s peace imperative aimed at collective security


Earth is Our Common Home: UN Desert Decade

God created lands filled with water as a place for man to live; and the desert so that he can discover his soul.

The decade 2010 to 2020 has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as The International Decade of Deserts and Desertification. The Decade marks the efforts begun in 1977 with the United Nations Conference on Desertification held in Nairobi. The desertification conference was convened by the UN General Assembly in the midst of a series of catastrophic droughts in the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa. The conference was designed to be the centrepiece of a massive worldwide attack to arrest the spread of deserts or desert-like conditions not only in Africa south of the Sahara but wherever such conditions encroached on the livelihood of those who lived in the desert or in their destructive path. The history of the conference is vividly recalled by James Walls in his book Land, Men and Sand

(New York: Macmillan, 1980).

At the conference, there was a call for the mobilization of human and financial resources to hold and then push back the advancing desert. “Attack” may have been the wrong word and “mobilization” too military a metaphor for the very inadequate measures taken later in the Sudano-Sahelian area (following)


As for the International Registry of World Citizens, created by Davis and Sarrazac in 1949, although it survived Davis’s departure under the safe leadership of early-day members Guy and Renée Marchand, its audience remained small. Concerned primarily with creating citizen-based global institutions aimed at replacing the UN, but apparently incapable of adapting to post-Cold War global political change, the Registry of World Citizens, as it was renamed in 2000, put on a new, more Christian-like face after the passing of the Marchands in 1993 and 2002 respectively, shifting to conventional Third World advocacy and adopting a more conservative internal functioning grossly modeled after that of French government institutions. In the modern-day Registry rhetoric, human rights matter as much—or as little—as any other topic, be it environment, poverty, nuclear weapons or other. As a result, nothing really significant is getting done for human rights within the reshaped old-school group.


The Rom: World Citizens Ahead of Time

Wandering now from land to land
Who is there here to feel my pain?”

Younous Emre, Thirteeth Century Turkish dervish

Early August, the French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux announced that more than 40 Gypsy camps had been dismantled around France since President Nicolas Sarkozy had called earlier this summer for a crackdown on the camps calling them “sources of illegal trafficking, profoundly shocking living standards, exploitation of children for begging, prostitution and crime.” Some 300 Roma camps not on municipal sites organized for Gypsy or “Travelers” are to be demolished and some — the criteria for expulsion is not clear — expelled mostly to Romania and Bulgaria. The political motivations of Mr Sarkozy are clear: to pander to the anti-immigration Right — basically the voters of the National Front — who have long had an anti-immigrant platform. (following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens
21/08/2010


We need a World Parliament, by Rob Wheeler

I am extremely disappointed with the governments' agreements on Crimes of Aggression during the recent review conference on the ICC in Uganda (see articles below). The resolution adopted is only directly applicable to Parties of the ICC Convention (thus not including Russia, China, US, Israel, and Iran to name a few); includes an opt out provision for States Parties unless the Security Council has referred a case to the ICC; and does not even come into effect until 2017. Still the resolution is clearly a step forward towards outlawing war; just not what is really needed or could possibly have been achieved.

My reading of the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that any and all acts of aggression and threats to international peace are violations of international law and should thus be prosecutable to the full. This is why we need a World Parliament that can take the needed action to finally outlaw war and insist on full accountability.

See : http://www.payvand.com/news/10/jun/1188.html

21/06/2010


Human Rights in Larger Freedom

Our age which has often been so cruel, can now pride itself on having witnessed the birth of a universal human rights movement. In all walks of life brave individuals are standing up for their brothers who have been reduced to silence by oppression or poverty. Their struggle has transcended all frontiers, and their weapon is knowledge…Defending human rights today means above all bringing the most secret crimes to light. It means trying to find out and daring to speak out with complete objectivity, something which requires courage and occasionally, even heroism… The United Nations is cognizant that, for human rights to be more fully recognized and respected, the awareness and support of all are required.

- Javier Perez de Cuellar, Former Secretry-General of the United Nations

As we consider the present status of respect for human rights throughout the world, it is inevitable that we look at the large gap between the aims and the practice. It is easy to grow cynical at governmental double standards, politically selective hypocrisy and tactical alliances. Yet success in the human rights field depends on a continuing commitment to outwit those who have a vested interest in keeping the UN weak and unable to act effectively. It is important to note the land marks of progress. These are some of the victories where intense effort and creative cooperation among representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN Secretariat, independent experts, and a few representatives of progressive governments created awareness, got resolutions adopted, and built structures for follow up. Each case would merit a fuller analysis and character sketches of some of the players, but that would be a book rather than an article.(following)


The NPT Review: Is Progress Possible ?

Peace is a path that is chosen consciously. It is not an aimless wandering but a step-by-step journey. It means compassion without concession, and peace without bowing to injustice. Loving kindness is the only way to peace.”

Tun Channareth, Cambodian activist and landmine victim

On the eve of the month-long Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the hopes of many: “Everyone recognizes the catastrophic danger of nuclear weapons. Just as clearly, we know the threat will last as long as these weapons exist. The Earth’s very future leaves us no alternative but to pursue disarmament. And there is little prospect of that without global cooperation…Momentum is building around the world. Governments and civil society groups, often at odds, have begun working in the common cause. All this work reflects the priorities of our member states, shaped in turn by public opinion. Those who stand with us share the vision of a nuclear-free world. If ever there were a time for the world’s people to demand change, to demand action beyond the cautious half measures of the past, it is now.” (following)


The Shape of the Nuclear- weapon World

With the START signing in Prague and the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, nuclear issues have again moved to the "front page". René Wadlow* and Newropeans-Magazine publish in the coming weeks a series of 5 essays prior to the Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons which will be held in New York starting early May. Today the first of these 5 articles: "The Shape of the Nuclear- weapon World".

The signing on 8 April 2010 of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Prague by Presidents Barack Obama and Dimitri Medvedev is a modest but symbolic step to signal better US-Russian relations (following).


The Bridge of Beauty and Understanding

Only the bridge of Beauty will be strong enough for crossing from the bank of Darkness to the side of Light

Nicholas Roerich

The United Nations General Assembly in resolution A/RES.62/90 has proclaimed the year 2010 as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures “to promote universal respect for, and observation and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Cultures encompass not only the arts and humanities but also different ways of living together, value systems and traditions. Thus 2010 should provide real opportunities for dialogue among cultures. It is true that to an unprecedented degree people are meeting together in congresses, conferences and universities all over the globe. However, in themselves, such meetings are not dialogue and do not necessarily lead to rapprochement of cultures. There is a need to reach a deeper level. Reaching such deeper levels takes patience, tolerance, the ability to take a longer-range view, and creativity. Thus we are pleased to present the creative efforts of individuals who have helped to create bridges of understanding among cultures (following).

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens
10/04/2010


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Banning Cluster Bombs: Light in the Darkness of Conflicts

Cluster BombsIn a remarkable combination of civil society pressure and leadership from a small number of progressive States, a strong ban on the use, manufacture, and stocking of cluster bombs will come into force on August 1, 2010 now that 30 States have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention bans the use, production, transfer of cluster munitions and sets deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated land. The Convention obliges States to support victims and affected communities.

In November 2010 the first Meeting of Parties to the Convention will take place in Laos, Laos being the State where the largest number of fragmentation weapons had been used. Therefore it is important to encourage as many States as possible to ratify the Convention prior to the November conference so as to be able to participate in this first meeting of the Parties. In a note at the end of the article, I list the 30 States which have ratified by geographic area as treaty ratification is often influenced by what other States in a region do (or do not do). (following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens


March 8:International Day of Women: Women as Peacemakers

It is only when women start to organize in large numbers that we become a political force, and begin to move towards the possibility of a truly democratic society in which every human being can be brave, responsible, thinking and diligent in the struggle to live at once freely and unselfishly

March 8 is the International Day of Women and thus a time to analyse the specific role of women in bringing peace to areas in conflict. In this article, I set out some of the general areas to consider

Lysistrata, immortalized by Aristophanes, mobilized women on both sides of the Athenian-Spartan War for a sexual strike in order to force men to end hostilities and avert mutual annihilation. In this, Lysistrata and her co-strikers were forerunners of the American humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow who proposed a hierarchy of needs: water, food, shelter, and sexual relations being the foundation. (See Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature) Maslow is important for conflict resolution work because he stresses dealing directly with identifiable needs in ways that are clearly understood by all parties and with which they are willing to deal at the same time.(following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens


Afghanistan—London : Just 20 Year Late

On 28 January 2010, over 60 Foreign Ministers of States concerned by Afghanistan met for one day in London to consider the next steps to lower the intensity of the conflict in Afghanistan and to bring greater stability to the region. One could have suggested another setting for the conference than London. British attempts to extend its sphere of influence into Afghanistan led to military intervention in the First Afghan War (1838-1842), the Second Afghan War (1878-1880) and the Third Afghan War (1919). Often too much history is remembered by some and not enough by others.

The British interventions were largely part of efforts to limit Russian influence — part of the “Great Game” — a term first coined by the British colonial officer Arthur Conolly in 1829 and immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in Kim. Throughout its history, Afghanistan, standing at the meeting place of three geographic cultural regions — Iranian, Central Asian and Indian — has been subject to influences from neighbouring territories. (following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens


The Importance of Biodiversity

The loss of biological diversity stands alongside climate change as one of the most pressing areas of global policy — one of the crucial challenges of our time. Rich diversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This impoverishes us all and weakens the capacity of the living systems on which humanity depends to resist growing threats such as climate change

Biological diversity — or biodiversity — is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we depend. (following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens


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For International Year of Biodiversity, World Citizens propose planting Trees of Life, by René Wadlow

Listen for whispers from the woods, and wisdom will come.

The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 61/203; has proclaimed 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. The resolution, marking the UN Convention on Biodiversity was passed prior to the holding of the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference which highlighted the interactions between global vegetation and climate, the negative effects of deforestation on climate, the importance of vegetation feedbacks on global warming, and the extent to which forests create their own micro-climatic influence.

Denmark was an appropriate location for this emphasis on the role of woods and forests acting for the benefit of the planet. In Scandinavian mythology, the Great World Tree, Yggdrasil, is the tree of existence, the tree of life and knowledge. Care of the tree is entrusted to three maidens named Urdhr (Past), Vervandi (Present) and Skuld (Future). From this tree springs forth our visible universe. On the topmost branch of this tree sits an eagle, who symbolizes light and whose keen eyes see all things taking place in the world. The tree is the cosmic pillar that supports heaven and at the same time opens the road to the world of the gods. The tree permits an opening either upward (the divine world) or downward (the underworld). The three cosmic levels — earth, heaven, the underworld — have been put into communication. (Following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens

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25 November: Elimination of Violence Against Women, by René Wadlow

November 25 is the UN-proclaimed International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women is a year-round occurrence and continues to an alarming degree. Violence against women is an attack upon their bodily integrity and their dignity. We need to place an emphasis on the universality of violence against women, the multiplicity of its forms, and the ways in which violence, discrimination against women, and the broader system of domination based on subordination and inequality are inter-related. The value of a special ‘Day’ is that it serves as a time of analysis of the issue and then of rededication to take both short-term and longer-range measures.

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by governments in the General Assembly of 1993, gives a broad definition of violence as “ any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (Following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens
20/11/2009


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World Summit on Food Security: 16-18 November, by René Wadlow

Citizens of the World welcome the World Summit on Food Security of 16-18 November 2009 in Rome to address the root causes of the present food crisis and to work for the full implementation of the 'Human Right to Food'. World citizens stress that there is a consensus that radical measures are needed to deal with the current world food crisis and that these measures will have to be taken in a wholistic way with actions going from the local level of the individual farmer to the national level with new governmental policies, to measures at the multi-State regional level such as the European Union or the African Union and at the world level with better coordinated actions through the United Nations system.

Today, cooperation is needed among the UN family of agencies, national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the millions of food producers to respond to the food crisis. As Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme has said "The rapid march of urgent hunger continues to unleash an enormous humanitarian crisis. The world must pull together to ensure that emergency needs are met as long term solutions are advanced." There is a need for swift, short-term measures to help people now suffering from lack of food and malnutrition due to high food prices, inadequate distribution, and situations of violence. (Following)

Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva,
Association of World Citizens
13/11/2009


First resolutions of WATUN

Here is the first group of Resolutions that we will be discussing and considering during WATUN’s first Governing Council Meeting this coming Sunday, October 25th from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM New York time. Again see the information given below to come to the meeting or join the Conference Call.

The first resolution entitled the Mexico City Declaration was already approved at the Congress; thus we do not need to discuss it. I am sending it only for your reference and to show you what we have already agreed to.

The second Resolution is similar to the Mexico City Declaration but much longer. It was intended that we would include specific action statements or recommendations later on in the text that were to come out of our discussions during the Model UN Charter Review Sessions of the Congress. Unfortunately we have still not had time to work on this. Thus I think that we should probably table this Resolution until we have had the time to discuss it more fully and included specific recommendations for what could emerge from a Charter Review Conference, etc.

The third Resolution concerns WATUN’s Strategy Development Plan. It provides an overview of what we hope to achieve during the upcoming year and the things that we will be working on. We definitely need to discuss this proposal and make sure that we agree with what is in it and add any additional significant or major ideas that people have.

The fourth Resolution is entitled: Referendum on a Democratic World Parliament and Government

The fifth Resolution is entitled: Funding the United Nations and Fulfilling the Agreements it Adopts

The sixth Resolution is entitled: Equitable, Universal Decision Making in the United Nations.

I will send you the rest of the Resolutions and Papers on either Thursday and/or Friday as I am leaving in a few minutes to drive the five hours to New York City.

Thanks again for your ongoing interest and commitment.

Rob Wheeler
Chair of the Executive Committee
WATUN
rob@watun.org

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