Report on the Charter for a World Without Violence
 

 

High Level Segment of ECOSOC

4 July 2007, Geneva

 

 

 

Report on the Cocktail Hosted By:

The Permanent Secretariat of the Nobel Peace Laureates Summits

 

At the cocktail hosted by the Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits under the aegis of ECOSOC, nineteen Nobel Peace Laureates presented the First Draft of the Charter for a World without Violence to Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination who received it on behalf of H. E. Sheika Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the General Assembly. The event was attended by over 60 representatives of member states, local authorities, members of civil society, academia, private sector and senior United Nations officials.

 

The event was moderated by Ms. Livia Malcangio. Ms. Eketrina Zagladina, representing the PERMANENT SECRETARIAT OF NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES SUMMITS introduced the upcoming summit in December 2007. The presentation at the Annual Ministerial Review Innovation Fair was conceptualized and facilitated by Mr. Vincenzo Aquaro, President, CARMA - Consorzio di ricerca per l’Automazione Risk Management nel settore Agricolo e agroindustriale and Mr. Enzo Cursio on behalf of PERMANENT SECRETARIAT OF NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES SUMMITS.

 

In his opening address, Mr. Seth recognized the tremendous contributions of the Nobel Peace Laureates in the field of peace, health, micro-credit, economics and environment and highlighted the important role that the Charter played in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Highlighting the linkages of Peace and development, Mr. Seth charted the acknowledgement of the Nobel Peace Committee of contributions made by varied groups towards peace including the environmentalist Ms. Wangara Mathai and Prof. Mohammed Yunus. Mr. Seth also mentioned the two instances when the efforts of the United Nations and its Secretary General Mr. Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden and Mr. Kofi Annan were recognized.

 

Ms. Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, stated that the brief charter identifies social principles that the laureates believe necessary for a peaceful future and is a culmination of the summits of the past three years. The Charter is a document to be addressed not only to governments and international institutions, but also to each individual on the Planet who is looking for the possibility to win the disease called ‘violence’ by means of a dialogue and a new conscience in each human being. Ms. McNish firmly asserted that the signers of the charter believe whole-heartedly that human violence is a preventable disease.

 

Dr. Ime A. John, Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), stated that the Charter for a World without Violence is a compliment and amplification to the UN’s own charter. He added that peace cannot be achieved through the barrel of the gun neither will it come by inequity but rather with food and proper healthcare and education.  Peace will come through even distribution of resources and through honouring the dignity and rights of every human.  This is the dream of the UN Charter, embodied in its charge to the Economic and Social Council and reaffirmed in the Millennium Declaration.

 

The closing statement was given by Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Chief of the NGO Section/DESA, who praised the richness of the Charter in terms of the important topics covered by it, such as poverty, diversity, education, human rights, sustainability, health and reform of the United Nations. She also commended the increased commitment from member states in support of the work of civil society and on this note read a paragraph of the Charter dedicated exclusively to civil society to conclude:

 

“Civil society in all its articulations must be recognized as essential to building a non-violent world. Conditions should be created to enable and encourage civil society participation in political processes at the global and local level-this includes ensuring the empowerment and protection of human rights defenders, peace and environmental activists whose activities often place them at risk”.

 

Annexes:

 

1)      Closing remarks by Ms. Mezoui, Chief, NGO Section/DESA

2)      Speech by Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee;

3)      Speech by Dr. Ime A. John, Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW);

4)      Introduction to the Charter by Ms. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Charter and the Signatories of the Charter;

 

 

ANNEX 1

 

 

 

Closing Statement by Ms. Hanifa Mezoui  at the Cocktail hosted by the Permanent Secretariat of Nobel for Peace Laureates Summits

 

Geneva, 4 July 2007

 

 Excellencies, distinguished delegates and special guests….

It is an honor for me to thank you for being here today to support the presentation of the charter signed by 19 Nobel peace laureates. As a matter of habit as we skim through all the documents and resolutions issued every day – I see the increased commitment from member states in support of the work of civil society. On the same note the Charter for a world without violence could not have been a richer document. From poverty to diversity…..from education to human rights…from reform of the United nations to human rights…including sustainability and health….I see a deep commitment of a global partnership and our increased interdependence if we have to reduce hunger and poverty. While I see the linkages clearly in what civil society can do, I am delighted to read exclusively a paragraph dedicated to civil society.

I quote “Civil society in all its articulations must be recognized as essential to building a non-violent world. Conditions should be created to enable and encourage civil society participation in political processes at the global and local level-this includes ensuring the empowerment and protection of human rights defenders, peace and environmental activists whose activities often place them at risk”

Knowing and working very closely with the civil society I can only say….that the civil society has the courage to partner, to initiate, to follow ….to lead……and most importantly implement…..

Once again, I'd like to congratulate Nobel Peace for Laureates Summits for their commendable initiatives.

 

ANNEX 2

 

 

Remarks to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Mary Ellen McNish

General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee

July 4, 2007

 

I am honored to be here this evening, both for the opportunity to be with so many who have distinguished themselves in service of the well-being of the world’s people and as a representative of the world’s Nobel Peace Laureates in their call for a Charter for a World Without Violence.

 

As civil society within nations has been the mother of liberty and equality, a newly invigorated global citizenry must now call the current world order to account for itself.  Growing from our summits of the last three years, the World’s Nobel Peace Laureates, with the support of the Gorbachev Foundation, have made it our mission to draft this brief charter outlining the social principles that we believe to be the necessary conditions for a peaceful future.

 

We believe that this charter is a compliment and amplification to the UN’s own charter.  It is particularly gratifying to share this charter at a meeting of the Economic and Social Council.  I know that those of us in this room understand all too well that diplomacy must work hand-in-hand with economic and social development if there is to be lasting peace.

 

Some might find the idea of a Charter for a World Without Violence to be audacious.  Instead, in our gatherings as laureates, we have found it shamefully easy to enumerate the causes of violence.  If it is possible, as we believe it is, to summarize the challenges to peace in three to four pages, then surely this is a problem that can be solved.  We, the signers of this charter, believe whole-heartedly that human violence is a preventable disease.

 

As individuals and organizations honored by the Nobel Peace Prize, we believe ourselves to have a special responsibility to call institutions and nations to task, to remind them of their moral obligations.  The Peace Prize is given for the exercise of moral courage.  People know moral hollowness when they see it.  They respond when the prophetic voice names it.  We who have been granted so visible a moral platform must not shrink from exercising that voice.

 

The world’s people are beginning to speak in a common voice to say that peace will not come at the end of a gun, the tip of a warhead, or in a backpack of explosives.

 

Peace will come with food and healthcare and education.  Peace will come through the right-sharing of resources and through honoring the dignity and worth of every person.  This is the dream of the UN Charter, embodied in its charge to the Economic and Social Council and reaffirmed in the Millennium Declaration.

 

As Nobel Peace Laureates, as veteran dreamers of a better world, and as those who have put themselves in harm’s way and up to ridicule for the cause of peace, we believe we cannot shrink from speaking prophetically, from saying that, all too often, the path being chosen for us in the 21st Century leads not to peace and security, but to destruction and further cycles of misery.

 

As a Quaker, I am a member of a sect which has long believed that to take away the occasion for war, we must examine our own behavior and root out the seeds of war within each of us.  But if we are to finally take away the occasion for war, we must go out into the world and look for the seeds of war in our states and our civil institutions.  The Charter I give you tonight names these seeds of future dissention and pain even as it calls upon us to plant fruits of a better sort for the benefit of future generations.

 

We categorically reject a world in which policy is guided by fear of what might be.  Instead, we believe that the final victory belongs to compassion, decency, and the recognition of our common humanity in all of its richness.  And, on behalf of my fellow institutional and individual laureates, I ask you to carefully consider the charter we put before you and to ask you to add the moral weight of your own voices to ours to say that a peaceful world is not only possible, it is imperative and achievable.

 

ANNEX 3

The Charter for a World without Violence

Remarks to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Geneva

BY DR. IME A. JOHN

Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, (IPPNW) 4th July, 2007

 

I feel humbled, yet privileged to be here this evening, both for the opportunity to be with Colleagues, who have distinguished themselves in the pursuit for peace and as a representative of the world’s Nobel Peace Laureates in their call for a more peaceful world through our modest contribution- a Charter for a World Without Violence.

 

In 1996, the 49th World Health Organization (WHO)[1] Assembly identified violence as a leading global public health problem that needs attention. As a physician, my view of violence is a complex entity, a disease that needs urgent redress by concerted public actions. As a Peace activist and an advocate for policy change, the onus falls on us to contribute to global peace. It therefore becomes natural as representatives of Nobel Peace Prize Organizations /individuals, that we stimulate a discourse and invoke nations to live up to their moral responsibilities of ensuring a violence free world.

 Our summits supported by Gorbachev Foundation, made an unprecedented move to draft this brief charter outlining the social principles that we believe to be the necessary conditions for a peaceful world.

 

We believe that this charter is a compliment and amplification to the UN’s own charter.  It is particularly gratifying to share this charter at a meeting of the Economic and Social Council.  I know that those of us in this room understand that the dynamics of attaining a peaceful world lies not only in diplomacy but a synergic marriage with economic and social development if we are to achieve our mission of peace.

 

  The Nobel Peace Prize laureates brainstormed on several forms of violence which we think needs attention. The result of this endeavour produced the draft which we are pleased to present. The signatories and those that endorsed this charter believe whole-heartedly that human violence is preventable if careful and consistent steps are taken by individuals, governments and organizations.

 

Peace cannot be achieved through the barrel of the gun neither will it come by inequity but rather with food and proper healthcare and education.  Peace will come through even distribution of resources and through honouring the dignity and rights of every human.  This is the dream of the UN Charter, embodied in its charge to the Economic and Social Council and reaffirmed in the Millennium Declaration.

 

As Nobel Peace Laureates, as veteran dreamers of a better world, and as those who have put themselves in harm’s way and up to ridicule for the cause of peace, we believe we cannot shrink from speaking prophetically, from saying that, all too often, the path being chosen for us in the 21st Century leads not to peace and security, but to destruction and further cycles of misery.

 

As a Co-President of IPPNW, representing physicians, health workers and Medical students in 60 Countries, we believe that to prevent war and secure peace, we must examine the root causes of war and campaign against factors that motivates conflicts.  The Charter I give you tonight names these seeds of future dissention and pain even as it calls upon us to plant fruits of a better sort for the benefit of future generations.

 

We categorically reject a world in which policies are guided by violence in the name of national security. We rise against situations that inputs fear on people. Instead, we support equity, peaceful resolution of conflicts and socially balanced world.

 

 On behalf of my fellow institutional and individual laureates, I ask you to carefully consider the charter we put before you tonight and request your support to our stand that a peaceful world is not only possible, but imperative and achievable.

 


[1] World Health Organization. World Health Assembly Resolution 49.25. Prevention of violence: a public health priority. Forty-Ninth World Health Organization, Geneva. 25 May, 1996.