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Many to Many
Issue 89
September 2004

I. EDITORIAL - Responsibility


III. DAFUR, SUDAN: August 2004: The Sands of Death, the Rains of Hope




VII. HIROSHIMA DAY – 6th August 2004


I.  Editorial "Responsibility"

Forever etched in our collective conscience will be the images of the American or British soldiers exhibiting their naked and intimidated Iraqi prisoners prostrated in front of their foreign interrogators.

From interviews, we are given the impression that these young men and women are decent, normal and law-abiding citizens of their respective countries who – caught in the strange and complex circumstances of invasion – lost their capacity to think and make independent decisions; military training overriding their sense of humanity.

These sad pictures lead us into dark and obscure places within the human psyche, and the question must be asked: What would we, what would I, have done in the same stressful and intolerable situation? Would we, would I, have mustered sufficient courage and clarity of thought to overrule or withstand the general atmosphere of subservience to higher military ranking? Would individual kindheartedness have resisted peer pressure, the unquestioning following of orders as required of a soldier – and would it have overcome an inner compulsion to harm and hurt?

However disturbing these questions might be, we should not, I believe, distance ourselves from them but sincerely seek an answer.

It is said that if a bottle of ink is poured into the sea from any shore, particles of it can be traced right throughout the entire ocean. However unique each individual creation – from snowflakes to humans – appears to be; whatever distinctive qualities seem to set us apart, all of us are receivers and distributors of substances and essences, thoughts, emotions and feelings that each and all will contribute to the environment we have in common. Humans and snowflakes alike will reflect the purity or contamination of the atmosphere in which we live, through our overall state of health and well being.

However, with the capability consciously to register and record our actions, comes also the challenge and responsibility of decision-making; a challenge and opportunity to learn and to grow that cannot be delegated but must be reckoned with by each one of us.

Inherent fears, strange compulsions and deep-rooted resentments have led to despicable acts of cruelty and terrorism, which can be traced far back into ancient human history. But so can the incorruptible and indestructible spirit of the human being which has ever thrown light on the path, untiringly teaching us to distinguish the real from the not-real.    

The pictures of apparently decent men and women demeaning other human beings bring into stark relief the fact that each one of us needs to share the burden of responsibility for creating a civilization in which this kind of uncivilized behaviour is not an uncommon feature. Because, these daily images of fear and terror are all reflecting our corporate failure to relate respectfully to all life within our planetary environment and to honour the place of each within the whole.

Should we not consider pouring every skill, energy and capacity to care and to love that we may have, into changing every such chaotic, traumatic and dysfunctional state of affairs - each contribution, each outpouring bringing us nearer to a world of greater beauty and life more abundant.

"It is valuable to realize that each correct judgement of ours enriches space. But how great is the responsibility for each pollution!"
HEART - 1932

II. "Building a Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness"

"Over the years we have come to realize that it is not enough to send peacekeeping forces to separate warring parties. It is not enough to engage in peace-building efforts after societies have been ravaged by conflict. It is not enough to conduct preventive diplomacy. All of this is essential work, but we want enduring results. We need, in short, a culture of peace."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan

On June 2, 2004 at United Nations Headquarters in New York City a seminar entitled "Building a Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness"1 was held in cooperation with the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). Aquarian Age Community, a non-profit, accredited nongovernmental organization (NGO) in association with the UN Department of Public Information sponsored the event.

The meeting opened with a visualization activity and meditative reflection. Participants were asked to consider a culture of peace as ‘the externalization of the most sacred, most honored and most universally compassionate way of life that you can imagine’; to imagine that it already exists; that it is vital and alive within us and our planet; to reflect on how we would behave, feel, think—and BE within such a culture of peace and to focus clearly, lovingly and with purpose on that vision. Participants were offered the opportunity to share their experience during the latter part of the program, but the hope was that all would retain this experience, build on it and seek out ways to vitalize and actualize this vision from that moment onwards.

Offering keynote thoughts on "The Evolution of Human Consciousness and the Role of Culture", including the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace and UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, were Ida Urso, Ph.D., President of the Aquarian Age Community and Iris Spellings, Artist and NGO Representative for Operation Peace Through Unity.

The concept of a "culture of peace", as pointed out by Dr. Urso, was first put forth in the Yamoussoukro Declaration in 1989. It called on UNESCO to "construct a new vision of peace by developing a peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men," and to promote education and research for this vision. (UNESCO and a Culture of Peace, UNESCO Publishing, 1995) Ten years later in September 1999, Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the International Year of the Culture of Peace.

"Peace…is an effect; it is the result of right relationship to all life, because the peace of the world results directly from the inner experience of each person on the planet," said Dr. Urso. She continued by explaining that all life is forever evolving, and in so doing, takes the form of a progressive series of awakenings, and that today humanity is moving from personal or self-consciousness towards group or Soul consciousness. As a result of our learning how to transcend the restrictive sense of separateness and isolation by opening to and striving to attain the expanded love-wisdom of group or Soul consciousness, slowly, competition is being replaced by cooperation and the power of enlightened reason and dialogue are gradually taking the place of war and brutality.

War is the result of an emphasis upon a ‘material values’ culture. "Now is the time," Ms. Spellings said, "to focus on creating a spiritual culture—a culture based on loving understanding, goodwill and right relations with all life. This is not an impossible dream, but the next step." Culture is the essence of a civilization and the objective of all education; for it is that of blending heart and mind, sensitivity and thought, and discovering the meaning behind form or appearance.

UNESCO, understanding the importance of this, proclaimed 2003 as the UN Year for Cultural Heritage marking the 30th Anniversary of an international agreement signed to date by more than 150 countries that protects World Cultural and Natural Heritage. To date, 788 sites on the World Heritage List are protected worldwide. The Statue of Liberty is a site protected by the WHC, along with the great Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge to name a few.

A forerunner to this UNESCO program is Roerich's Pact and Banner of Peace2. Nicholas Roerich, a renowned artist, philosopher and archeologist who was appalled by the devastations of World War I and sought to protect the cultural heritage of each nation, introduced this treaty in 1929. It provided that the Banner fly over all historic monuments and educational, artistic and scientific institutions to indicate neutrality, special protection and respect in times of war and of peace. Roerich is known for saying: "Where there is Peace, there is Culture; Where there is Culture, there is Peace."

The Banner of Peace symbol, three spheres within a circle, is an ancient and universal symbol dating back to the Neolithic Age. It may be found all over the world, and has had many meanings, yet it clearly represents a deep and sophisticated understanding of unity--the triune nature of existence within the circle of infinity, which remains relevant and alive today.

While this Pact was primarily an appeal to governments, the Manifesto 2000 pledge, formulated by the Nobel Peace Laureates at the end of the century, is an appeal to us all to live responsibly. Signed to date by more than 75 million people, the Manifesto 20003 offers 6 clear and simple guidelines, which if applied is believed will bring about a peaceful and non-violent civilization: "Respect all life; Reject violence; Share with others; Listen to understand; Preserve the planet; Rediscover solidarity".

The pivotal role the mind plays in creating a culture of peace was noted many times throughout the seminar…as well as this relevant and well-known quote from UNESCO: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) as guest speaker addressed the essential question: "How Can the UN and Civil Society Promote a Culture of Peace?" His broad perspective and knowledge based on many years of service and experience in this field inspired all.

Ambassador Chowdhury pointed out that due to globalization and advancements in science and technology, our problems and we--the world--are becoming increasingly more interdependent and interconnected. Because of their magnitude, solving these problems requires humanity to work together finding new, workable, realistic solutions based on this new reality. "Global efforts towards peace and reconciliation can only succeed with a collective approach built on trust, dialogue and collaboration," he said noting that we have to build a grand alliance between all, especially including the participation of civil society and young people.

Peace is a prerequisite for human development and the most essential vehicle for realizing the goals and objectives of the UN in the 21st century. The Ambassador emphasized that a culture of peace is no longer an idea or just a concept—it is growing into a global movement. He added guardedly, that this is only the first step. Only when we are nearer to solving the problems of poverty, homelessness, education, discrimination, etc., only when the world will be a better place to live, for us, and the generations to come, only then will the movement for a culture of peace achieve its objective.

Citing the importance of peace education as essential in building a culture of peace, and the role of the family--the oldest institution in human history--at the core of this education, he said he believed that "the real foundation of any peace proposal must be the reawakening of human spirit—spirit that should energize and empower each and every individual belonging to our planet with love and concern for each other for the greater good of humanity".

The role of simplicity and beauty in evoking this spirit, or sense of transcendence, was another common thread throughout the afternoon’s discussions. Nicholas Roerich understood this well. He was quoted as saying: "In Beauty we are united; Through Beauty we pray; With Beauty we conquer."

The appalling destruction of such beauty, namely, the Buddhas at Barniyan in Afghanistan in 2001, was the causal event that inspired Tito Dupret to form his own nonprofit organization to document sites such as these and raise awareness of their fragility. With his determination and dedication to photograph all 788 of the sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and see to it that they are preserved on film as part of our human history, it became evident that this Belgian filmmaker and multimedia director could perhaps be considered Roerich’s modern day equivalent.

All listened intently as Mr. Dupret gave them a tour of his website and answered questions regarding this massive project he has embarked upon. Aside from the sheer beauty of the photographs is the fact that they are photographed 360 degrees around—vertically, horizontally and in between--and then "stitched together" via computer to exhibit one spherical 360 degree photo navigated merely by the computer’s mouse or touch pad. These can be experienced at his website:

The seminar came to a close as the audience participated in answering the following questions:
A. What is the UN already doing to foster and facilitate a Culture of Peace in the world?

B. What is my vision of a Culture of Peace –for myself? For my home and community? Within the United Nations and within the World?

C. In what ways can I contribute to a Culture of Peace–in my personal and professional life?

A lively discussion followed as the comments were geared to a wide variety of specific projects that people wanted to focus on and commit themselves to in order to bring about their vision of a culture of peace. The afternoon ended in silent reflection as participants were asked to consider one especially significant and motivational thought or experience, which they wanted to carry out of the seminar into their daily lives.

Readers of this newsletter are invited to respond to the above questions, sending them by e-mail to or by postal mail to OPTU, Te Rangi, 4 Allison St., Wanganui 5001, New Zealand. Some of these responses will then be published in a subsequent issue of Many to Many.

1 The full transcripts of this seminar are on-line at:
2 Roerich Banner of Peace:
3 Manifesto 2000:

III. Darfur, Sudan: August 2004: The Sands of Death, the Rains of Hope
- Rene Wadlow*

August 2004 is a crucial test for the conflict resolution ability of both the United Nations and the African Union, the newly transformed body which replaced the  Organization of African Unity;

The United Nations Security Council has given 30 days, basically the month of August 2004, to the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militians which the government originally armed and to halt the genocidal violence which has left a trail of death, raped women, over a million displaced persons within Darfur and some 200,000 refugees in Chad.  This is a large order, even if the Sudanese government were willing to cooperate with the UN system, the African Union, and international non-governmental organizations.

Darfur (which means the region of the Fur – one of the agricultural peoples being decimated) is an area the size of France with some six and a half million people — all  population figures are estimates.  Most people, probably 80% are agriculturalists, living in relatively small villages which depend on wells for water for household use and modest irrigation of vegetable gardens in basically subsistence agriculture.

These agriculturalists are divided into separate peoples who are structured into tribes and clans: the Fur, the Massaleits, the Zayhawa, the Birgit are among these peoples who are targets of armed attacks from the semi-nomadic pastoralists who consider themselves ‘Arabs’ because of the prestige of the Arabic language they speak.  In fact, these Sudanese ‘Arabs’ have no relation to the peoples of Arabia and are more related to pastoral tribes in Libya and Chad.

In the past, there have been both complementary relations between agriculturalists and pastoralists as well as rivalry over water and grazing rights.   In periods of drought, there is an increase in rivalry and sporadic attacks by pastoralists on agricultural villages — the pastoralists having camels which allow them to move quickly over wide areas.

However, the relations between agriculturalists and pastoralists have been changed by the wider Sudanese political scene. Since 1982, there has been a ‘North-South’ civil war between the northern, Islamic-led government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement headed by John Garang.  Originally, the Darfur area was not directly involved in the civil war.  However, progressively armed bands of pastoral ‘Arab’ tribes from Darfur and adjacent Kordofarn have been raiding villages in Bahr El Ghazal, bringing back loot, including men to work and women, raped so they would reproduce.

For a good overview of this civil war and the efforts of a negotiated settlement, see the International Crisis Group’s study God, Oil and Country: Changing the Logic of War in the Sudan.

The civil war seems to be coming to an end due to mutual war-weariness and an agreement to share power and oil revenues between northern and southern leadership.  However, the peace agreement is fragile.  The violence in Darfur could lead to the breaking of the peace agreements with negative regional impact.

Likewise, we must highlight the impact that the refugee flow can have on the government and society of Chad.  Chad is a country which has had more than its share of civil wars, frontier disputes and military coups.  In the past, Darfur had been used as a relief area for forces in Chadian conflicts.  Now, we see the reverse.  Refugee flows can cause instability.  Therefore, it is of importance for regional peace and stability that the killings in Darfur be stopped.

Thus, August 2004 is a crucial period.  As Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs said on 23 July 2004, "There is a false impression now that things are improving in Darfur because we, the humanitarian community, are able to deploy much stronger than before.  However, the outlook at the moment is actually bleak; the deaths are increasing."

There may be relatively rapid developments on the Darfur situation.  It is useful to keep informed. Both the International Crisis Group ( and Human Rights Watch ( have made important contributions of analysis.

There are three aspects of the Darfur, Sudan situation which demand prompt and concerted action:

a) disarmament and disbanding of the Janjaweed militias who are prime agents of the genocidal violence;

b) unhindered relief, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in conditions of safety and with aid as in many cases there has been a deliberate destruction of the agricultural infrastructure of Darfur — the graineries needed both for food and for seeds to replant, the deliberate destruction of wells that are filled and covered with sand, the destruction of all farm tools, as well as of houses and storage areas;

c) a start of ecologically-sound development for the area based on finding complementary relations between agriculturalists and pastoralists.

August is usually a month of rains in Darfur, a blessing needed for planting.

However, this August, the rains make the shipment of food and relief difficult.  During this month, the government of Sudan must change its policy in order to bring peace to all its peoples. Such a shift in policy is in the interest of the wider African area.

I would suggest that letters indicating the positive results of such a policy shift be sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sudan who is the chief negotiator with the United Nations:
H.E. Mr Mustafa Ismail, Foreign Minister
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the UN
655 Third Avenue(Suite500-510)
New York, NY 10017, USA
*Rene Wadlow is the editor of and representative to the United Nations, Geneva of the Association of World Citizens. Formerly, he was professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva

IV. Three Square Meals

To my mind, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent one of the most significant achievements of our time. It’s all very well for idealists and well-intentioned governments to say the right things about justice, peace, poverty and security. It’s quite another thing for governments to agree to a series of well-defined, achievable goals with a timetable – and for goodwill networks around the world to put their weight behind the process of meeting these objectives. This is what the MDGs do – especially so when the UN Secretary General is tasked to produce an annual report charting progress in meeting the goals. It’s the sort of down to earth approach that seems somehow to be very 21st century.

Yes, much of the reporting about the MDGs focuses on the puny level of response to the challenge of meeting the goals – the small-mindedness and short-sightedness of national governments and the various pressure groups that oppose the investment of national resources in global, multilateral programmes. This is to be expected. But it is only one side of the story. To see the picture whole we need to balance these headlines with the untold stories of people, organisations and governments taking creative and daring steps in an effort to reach the goals. And there are many such stories at local, national, regional and international levels.

Take the Goal to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger which has been narrowed down to the task of reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. All 191 UN member states are pledged to do this by the year 2015.

One of the most outstanding stories in this regard comes from Brazil – from the Zero Hunger Project of President Lula da Silva’s administration. It’s a great story by anyone’s reckoning. First look at the enormity of the Programme’s objective: that the almost 10 million undernourished families in Brazil (46 million people) have three square meals a day – and in the process that the poorest of the poor be empowered and their self-esteem nourished through education, microcredit, the promotion of co-operatives and agrarian reform. Remember Brazil is a vast country. It has the fourth largest population in the world – it appears to be a wealthy country and yet over one quarter of the population is affected by poverty (with an income of less that US$1.00 per day). And secondly look at the creative, pragmatic approach that the government is taking – experimenting with all sorts of programmes to involve the whole population in the task of ending hunger and poverty. As Lula said at the launch of the Special Ministry of Food Security and Hunger Combat in February 2003:

I believe Brazil has given itself an opportunity. (Zero Hunger) won’t be the miracle of one President. I think it'll be the miracle of the Brazilian society. If every business entity, if every person who has a soul and political awareness in this country decides to join this campaign; the government doesn’t even need to know who, because we don’t want to claim credit for the results. If anyone in your town, anyone in your village, anyone in your community wants to do something, for God's sake, do it! Don’t keep waiting for the Government! Do it, because what we don’t want to see is the color of the seed, what we want is to see the fruit this seed will produce, if the Brazilian society takes the responsibility for doing away with hunger in our country."

Zero Hunger is about empowerment and social inclusion. There is emergency assistance. Families below the poverty line receive an electronic card with which they can withdraw 50 Reals (US$16.50) a month for spending on food. In every town committees are being formed with representatives of local voluntary groups, churches, civil society organizations alongside government and local government to organize collections and receive and distribute donations of food and money from citizens, business and organizations. The people of Brazil are being encouraged to donate food stuffs.

This might sound like good, old-fashioned charity, but it is far from it. In order to qualify for the electronic ‘citizens card’ a family must prove that if any of the adults are illiterate they are enrolled in an adult literacy programme; that the children go to school; that the family is part of a health programme; and that family members learn about microcredit opportunities and co-operatives. Teams of facilitators, trained in Paulo Freire’s pedagogy, work with recipient communities. The whole idea of families buying food is designed to stimulate demand for the produce of small and medium sized farms – a vital part of the programme because small scale farmers represent a large portion of the country’s poor and hungry.

Zero Hunger had initially aimed to guarantee three square meals a day to the ten million poorest families by 2006 – and in the process to generate long-term development and food security. One and a half years into the government’s first term it has become clear that this was overambitious – it is now believed that by 2006 every family will be guaranteed one good meal a day, and that the earlier goal will take eight years to achieve. In 2003, 3.615 million families were part of the programme.

The enormous mobilisation of energy in Brazil to end hunger and redistribute resources in such a way as to eliminate poverty is having an impact outside the country as well. At the G8 Summit in France in 2003, Lula proposed a World Alliance Against Hunger and Poverty to create new financing mechanisms to end hunger – levies would be imposed on arms sales and on international financial transactions. The idea is being taken seriously. It has the support of the World Food Programme, and Kofi Annan, Jaques Chirac and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos have formed a Working Group to raise the funds to launch the Programme – the group is to report its findings to UN General Assembly in September.

Check out what is happening with Zero Hunger and the World Alliance Against Hunger and Poverty on the web at: ; also  

V. The Vth International Peace Museum Conference
Gernika-Lumo, 1- 6 May 2005


The motto chosen for this conference is: "Peace  Museums: A contribution to remembrance, reconciliation, art and peace".  Hosted by the Gernika Peace Museum, the conference will be held in the town of Gernika, situated in the Basque Country in the north of Spain. Gernika was completely destroyed in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy which inspired Picasso to the creation of perhaps the most well-known anti-war work of art "Guernica".

The Gernika Peace Museum Foundation is a member of the International Peace Museums Network which came into being during their first International Conference in  Bradford 1992, arranged by the British Association "Give Peace a Chance".

The Conference hopes to bring people together from different walks of life who are interested in working together for the building of a culture of peace.

People who may wish to do so can present a paper (5-10 A4 pages) on one of the three main topics to be discussed: 1) The contribution of art to a culture of peace; 2) Peace Museums, seeds of reconciliation in the world; and 3) The importance of remembrance to build a world in peace. Deadline 10 January 2005.

For more information, contact: Fundacion Museo de la Paz de Gernika, Plaza de los fueros, 1, E-48300 Gernika-Lumo, Bizkaia, Euskadi. Epmail  website:  

VI. Future Working Relationship between the UN and "We, the Peoples"

Local Autonomy – a universal principle

Since the 1st January 2004, the International Union of Local Authorities and the United Towns Organisation have united their efforts and merged into one organization called United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), in order to find common solutions to the problems caused by the ever growing urban population. This new organization has its headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

On the 4 May UCLG had its first meeting in Paris attended by mayors representing 1,500 cities in 126 countries. At the opening the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) read out a statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he expressed his vision of UCLG becoming an effective instrument for addressing the needs of the urban poor and for meeting the challenge of good urban governance. Each year 77 million are added to the more than 3 billion people already living in urban centers.

While the participants agreed that city governments, being in close touch with the local populations, were those who would be most capable of dealing with the many urban problems, such as unemployment, violence, lack of housing, social exclusion and squatter settlements, it was also acknowledged that concerted and sincere efforts could be hampered by weaknesses within local governments.

During the UCLG meeting, a new guide, "Tools to Support Transparency in Local Governance", was released by UN-HABITAT and Transparency International. This was the second publication in a Toolkit Series, which is part of UN-HABITAT’s Global Campaign on Urban Governance, aiming to help policy-makers and civil society fight corruption and ineffiency within governing bodies.

In a press release of 23rd June, the Mayors of the world expressed their appreciation of the Cardoso Panel’s Report on strengthening UN-Civil Society relations, in which the panel endorses a proposal (proposal 17 in the report) from its consultation with the Mayors of the world: "The General Assembly should debate a resolution affirming and respecting local autonomy as a universal principle."
E-mail  Website

The "Cardoso Report"

This Report, entitled We the Peoples: Civil Society, the United Nations and Global Governance, launched 21st June 2004, is the outcome of a Panel of Eminent Persons on UN – Civil Society Relationship, chaired by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The Panel was asked to present, after a year of consultations, proposals to the UN Secretary-General for enhancing interaction between the UN and Civil Society.

Since its first meeting in June 2003, the Panel has, through a broad range of activities, such as workshops, briefings and a widely distributed questionnaire, received inputs from civil society, the private sector, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, local governments and others, regarding their association and interaction with the UN. The resulting report presents 30 reform proposals; proposals which largely stem from four underlying priorities or principles for the UN that the Panel identified over the course of its deliberations:

Having presented its proposals the Panel concludes its report by pointing out that civil society and other constituencies are important to the UN because their experience and social connections can help the UN do a better job, improve its legitimacy, identify priorities and connect it with public opinion. Enhanced engagement, carefully planned, will make the UN more effective in its actions and in its contributions to global governance: "There is a synergy here, not a contest. The UN’s opportunities strengthen civil society, and this in turn empowers the UN, enhancing its relevance to the issues of our times."

In a statement, the Chair of the Panel, Mr. Cardoso, made the following remarks:"The rise of civil society is indeed one of the landmark events of our times. Global governance is no long the sole domain of governments. The growing participation and influence of non-State actors is enhancing democracy and reshaping multilateralism. Civil society organizations are also the prime movers of some of the most innovative initiatives to deal with emerging global threats. Hence constructively engaging with civil society is a necessity for the United Nation, not an option."

"We also see this opening up of the UN to a plurality of constituencies and actors not as a threat to governments but as a powerful way to reinvigorate the intergovernmental process itself."

Contact: Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations, United Nations, Office of the Secretary-General, S-3855-C, New York, NY 10017, USA
E-mail , website


6TH August 2004

Calling for an Emergency Campaign Around the World

In commemoration of this day when, 49 years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Mayor of the City of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba, together with the Mayors for Peace and 611 member cities in 109 countries and regions, issued a Peace Declaration pronouncing the period beginning on this day and lasting until 9th August 2005 a "Year of Remembrance and Action for a Nuclear-Free World".

The Declaration continues:
"Our goal is to bring forth a beautiful "flower" for the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings, namely, the total elimination of all nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth by the year 2020. Only then will we have truly resurrected hope for life on this "nothing will grow" planet.

The seeds we sow today will sprout in May 2005. At the Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be held in New York, the Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons will bring together cities, citizens, and NGOs from around the world to work with like-minded nations toward adoption of an action programme that incorporates, as an interim goal, the signing in 2010 of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to serve as the framework for eliminating nuclear weapons by 2020.

Around the world, this Emergency Campaign is generating waves of support. This past February, the European Parliament passed by overwhelming majority a resolution specifically supporting the Mayors for Peace campaign. At its general assembly in June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, representing 1184 U.S. cities, passed by acclamation an even stronger resolution.

We anticipate that Americans, a people of conscience, will follow the lead of their mayors and form the mainstream of support for the Emergency Campaign as an expression of their love for humanity and desire to discharge their duty as the lone superpower to eliminate nuclear weapons."

The Declaration concludes:
"Rekindling the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we pledge to do everything in our power during the coming year to ensure that the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings will see a budding of hope for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. We humbly offer this pledge for the peaceful repose of all atomic bomb victims."
Tadatochi Akiba,
Mayor of The City of Hiroshima

VIII. Terrorism – Human Rights – We, the Peoples

Many recent reports from non-governmental organizations and other groups involved in human rights and other human welfare projects and programmes are reflecting their deep concern regarding the many ways that the impact of what has been called "the global campaign against terrorism" is affecting the world community. A war on terror, which ignores international law, disregards basic human rights and justifies an ever increasing military spending, seems itself to fall under the rather hazy and flexible definition given to this new catchword.

Marking their 25th anniversary, the Human Rights Watch has published a 407-page World Report 2004: Human Rights and Armed Conflict. This report comprises 15 essays, each reporting and assessing developments in different troubled areas of the world. The essay on conditions in post-Saddam Iraq, written by Joe Stork and Fred Abrahams, note that the US and its coalition partners have treated human rights issues as of secondary importance. Their findings concur with those mentioned in Sam Zia-Zarifi’s essay on the situation in Afghanistan, where the focus of the coalition forces was on defeating Taliban and al-Qaeda  as quickly as possible, leading to reliance on other Afghanistan warlords with abysmal human rights records. This has resulted in deepening fear, growing insecurity and deteriorating human rights.

Other essays mention how this "assault on human rights in the name of counter-terrorism" is leaving devastating and lasting scars on the human population in so many places throughout the world – like Chechnya, the Great Lakes region and other areas of Africa and the Middle East.
E-mail   website

Another report highlights the rise in military expenditures around the world and contrasts this with the insufficient resources dedicated to development.

"Frustrating the hopes of peoples and nations all around the globe will certainly not help make the world a more secure place for our children", says the Social Watch Report 2004: Fear and Want – Obstacles to Human Security. The report provides a yearly summary of the findings of citizen coalitions in some 50 - poor as well as rich - countries, reporting on what they see as the main obstacles to human security. Social Watch is an international network of informed national citizens’ groups who believe that unless citizens monitor governments and their performance, they will not meet their international commitments.

This year’s report seeks to clarify and understand the link between human security and development issues and suggests that: "human security is an inclusive and people-centered concept that goes beyond the traditional areas of national security, which focus on territorial defense and military power."  However, the report makes it clear that not only the State but also non-State actors are responsible for development and must become involved in promoting policies and actions that will strengthen people’s security and development.
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In the InterAction’s Annual Forum, held in Washington DC May 2004, entitled "Operating in an Age of Uncertainty: New Challenges in Humanitarian and Development Work", some 600 representatives from 160 member organizations came together to discuss the challenges to be met and the lessons to be learnt within the overall endeavour of providing international humanitarian assistance. With the increasing, often fatal, attacks on relief workers in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the tragic bombing of the UN and Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad, security concerns were high on the agenda.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers, stressed that terrorism was a very real problem; but so was the concept of a world split between the good and the evil. Aid workers, said Mr. Rubbers, are paying the price for this vision, because "we have come to be seen as part of the supposed Western crusade against the world of Islam". The ability of aid workers to operate in insecure situations depended to a large extent on being accepted by the local community.

Some Forum participants expressed their doubt that the ‘humanitarian community’ could expect, even hope, to be seen as "neutral players" in conflict situations: "the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have hopelessly blurred the boundaries between military and humanitarian intervention".  It was acknowledged that when money is received for relief work, it comes with conditions attached. That is the way of the world; that’s the reality. But even so, a way could most times be found to put it to the best possible use. The attempt by governments to tie humanitarian and development aid to foreign policy and defense could be tempered by the sincere commitment and unwavering neutrality of the humanitarian community.
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On the 22 June, the United Nations Security Council had a day-long open debate on the Role of Civil Society in Post-conflict Peace-building.

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan used this occasion to call for a two-way dialogue between the United Nations and civil society, stressing that both local and international civil society groups had a role to play in the deliberative processes of the UN, including the Security Council, where "civil conflict and complex emergencies had taken centre stage in recent years". Although the Council was a body of sovereign governments dealing with crucial matters of war and peace, it should welcome inputs by civil society and consider them as adding quality and value to its decisions and ensure their effective implementation. Civil society, said Mr. Annan, had the capability to act as "bridge-builders, truth-finders, watchdogs, human rights defenders, and agents of social protection and economic revitalization". The time had come for the Council to place its relations to civil society on a ‘firmer footing’.

Mr. Annan also drew the Council’s attention to the newly released report "We the Peoples: Civil Society, the UN and Global Governance", which offered many innovative ideas on how partnerships between the UN and civil society could be strengthened.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, Marjatta Rasi (Finland), emphasised the importance of offering adequate assistance to post-conflict needs, such as recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction, including fostering civil society. Effective local capacity building should be supported across the sectors and communities.

Civil society, on this occasion, was represented by CARE and the International Center for Transitional Justice. Denis Caillaux, Secretary-General of CARE, said that a central lesson of the last decade had been that half of all peace efforts falter from the outbreak of local conflicts: "To prevent this from undermining national peace agreements, peacekeeping mandates must reach beyond their traditional focus, on the national level, to the heart of local communities".

Ian Martin, Vice-President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, insisted that one of the most fundamental challenges of post-conflict peace-building was to confront the past, while building a just foundation for the future. The involvement of local and national civil society is irreplaceable "if peace and justice are the goals."

Both representatives asked the Security Council to adopt a presidential statement that would demonstrate its commitment to include civil society groups in the post-conflict reconstruction process.

Speaking in her national capacity, the Security Council President, Delia Domingo Albert (the Philippines) agreed that the UN must have a clearer view of its relations with a civil society that had grown in size and numbers. Post-conflict reconciliation requires a delicate but firm touch, said the President, guided by understanding of and sympathy with the affected populations. "By its nature, civil society is gifted with such understanding and sympathy".
Source: Go Between no 103, UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS)
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