Tag: <span>General Assembly</span>

Day of the Oceans Appeals

International Day of the Oceans.

Featured Image: Photo by Marek OkonUnsplash.

Progress on Asian Maritime Delimitations Needed.

8 June has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of the Oceans to highlight the important role that the U.N. played in the creation of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. (UNCLOS).

Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Heating Up.

However, there are maritime delimitation disputes that are currently dangerous and require good-faith negotiations to prevent increased tensions.  The maritime delimitations within the South China Sea are particularly sensitive. Maritime delimitations can be heated up by governments and cooled off at will when other political issues require attention.  Currently, we are in a “heating up” stage between China and Taiwan, China and Vietnam, China and Japan, and China and the Philippines.  The China – U.S.A. tensions also color the South China Sea issues. (1)

There are both economic and geostrategic aspects to these tensions, and both need to be addressed if good- faith negotiations are to lead to cooperation for the benefit of all.   Progress in maritime geology and predictions of metal shortages in the decades ahead have made seabed mining a concern for governments such as China, Japan, and South Korea.  Minerals such as copper, gold and other industrial minerals as well as oil-natural gas are thought to be available through seabed mining in this Pacific area.

The International Day of the Oceans can serve as the start of a strong mobilization of voices calling for good-faith negotiations and for a vision of cooperation among the States of the South China Sea. (2)

Image: The USS John S. McCain conducts a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Jan. 22, 2017. The guided-missile destroyer is supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez. By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Saber Rattling in the South China Sea.

Notes:

  • (1) For a good overview of the history with maps of the disputed areas, see Douglas Johnston and Mark Valencia: Pacific Ocean Boundary Problems (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1991).
  • (2) For a useful approach to adjudication of delimitation issues, see A.O. Adede: The System for Settlement of Disputes Under the UNCLOS  (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987).

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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politics without borders Appeals

Politics Beyond National Frontiers.

Featured Image: Photo by  Markus Spiske,  Unsplash.

In our current globalized world society, there is an increased role for politics without borders.  Politics no longer stops at the water’s edge but must play an active role on the world stage. 

However, unlike politics at the national level which usually has a parliament at which the actors can recite their lines, the world has no world parliament as such.  Thus new and inventive ways must be found so that world public opinion can be heard and acted upon.

Beyond The Borders of Individual Countries. 

The United Nations General Assembly is as close to a world parliament that we have today.  However, all the official participants are diplomats appointed by their respective States – 195 members.  U.N. secretariat members, the secretariat members of U.N. Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO and the ILO are in the hall ways or coffee shops to give advice.  Secretariat members of the financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF are also there to give advice on costs and the limits of available funds.  The representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in consultative status with the U.N. who can speak at sessions of the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council cannot address the General Assembly directly. However, they are also in the coffee shops and may send documents to the U.N. Missions of governments.

Politics without borders requires finding ways to express views for action beyond the borders of individual countries. 

Today, most vital issues that touch the lives of many people go beyond the individual State:

  • The consequences of climate change.
  • The protection of biodiversity.
  • The resolution of armed conflicts.
  • The violations of human rights.
  • More just world trade pattern. 

Thus we need to find ways of looking at the world with a global mind and an open heart.  This perspective is an aim of world citizenship.

However, world citizens are not yet so organized as to be able to impact political decisions at the United Nations and in enough individual States so as to have real influence.  The policy papers and Appeals of the Association of World Citizens are often read with interest by the government representatives to whom they are sent.  However, the Association of World Citizens is an NGO among many and does not have the number of staff as such international NGOs as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Greenpeace.

We still need to find effective ways so that humanity can come together to solve global problems – that is – politics without borders.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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World Day of Social Justice Portraits of World Citizens.

World Day of Social Justice: A Sense of Direction.

Featured Image: Photo by Cody PulliamUnsplash.

On a proposal of the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstzan, the United Nations General Assembly has set 20 February as the World Day of Social Justice. It was observed for the first time in 2009, but is not widely known.  As with other UN-designated “Days”, the World Day of Social Justice gives us an opportunity to take stock of how we can work together at the local, national and global level on policy and action to achieve the goals set out in the resolution designating the Day of “solidarity, harmony and equality within and among states.”

As the resolution states:

“Social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

 Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?

Social Progress.

The Preamble to the UN Charter makes social justice one of the chief aims of the organization, using the more common expression of that time “social progress”.  The Preamble calls for efforts “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”.  However, in the preparation of the Charter during the last days of the Second World War, there was no definition given of “social progress”.  There was agreement that social justice was definitely more than law courts plus a social policy. It was easier to recognize social injustice than to define social justice.

The societies created by Nazi Germany and the military in Japan with slave labor and the abolition of workers’ rights were the models of social injustice that the drafters of the UN Charter had in mind along with the consequences in North America and Western Europe of the 1930s depression.

Beveridge Plan.

Ideas concerning international efforts for social progress were drawn largely from the experience of the League of Nations and especially the International Labour Organization (ILO), which had been created in 1919.  The representatives from the USA and Great Britain were most influential in the preliminary work on the UN Charter, other European states being occupied by Germany or still in the middle of fighting.

Thus US representatives were strongly influenced in their views of social progress by the “New Deal” legislation of President Roosevelt and the British by the outlines of the 1942 Beveridge Plan, named after its main author, Lord Beveridge, which led to the setting up of the first unified social security system. By 1944, with the tide of war turning, the ILO met in Philadelphia, USA, and set out its aims of post-war world employment policies, freedom of association for workers and the extension of social security measures.

William Beveridge. By British Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

ILO Convention number 87.

Thus from the start in 1945, the emphasis in the UN system had been on social justice as related to conditions of employment and the right to organize which was made manifest in the 1948 ILO Convention number 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize. Progressively, education was included as an aspect of social justice, in part because education is closely linked to employment.  Later, health was added as an element, again because of a close link to employment.

It took much longer but ultimately, gender equality has been included in the aims of social justice as fair employment practices, good education, and adequate health services could often still overlook the existence of women. Even today, can education be the only measure of women’s empowerment? Does reproductive health and rights come under adequate health care?.

Albert Thomas, By National Photo Company Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Albert Thomas: The ILO Centenary.

World Day of Social Justice to get a sense of direction for the road to be yet taken.

It is likely that employment, education, health with equality between women and men is as far as government representatives are willing to go collectively in discussing policies and programs of social justice.  Further advances will have to come from the non-governmental sector, though representatives from some governments at times can take a lead. Today, we can still see injustices due to social class, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, age, sexual orientation and disabilities.  There is a reluctance on the part of governments to deal with these issues nationally and an even greater reluctance to deal with them collectively within the UN system.

However, it is too easy to throw back on others responsibilities for injustices, if at the same time one does not realize how each of us shares personally in the benefits of injustice. Thus, we can use the World Day of Social Justice not only to celebrate the advances made but to get a sense of direction for the road to be yet taken.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Harmony Week-Chou Tun-yi Rapprochement of Cultures.

Interfaith Harmony Week: Chou Tun-yi: A Voice for Our…

Featured Image: Chou Tun-yi or Zhou Dunyi. By 清宫殿藏画本. 北京: 故宫博物馆出版社. 1994., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The United Nations General Assembly on 20 October 2010 proclaimed the first week of February of each year as the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” among all religions, faiths and beliefs. The General Assembly resolution recognized :

“The imperative need for dialogue among the 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.

Thus, the Association of World Citizens welcomes this effort to develop respect and mutuality among diverse cultures and religions. Today, there is a broad and deep movement toward openness and goodwill among religious and spiritual communities. New awareness of shared ethical principles opens the way for creative engagement.

There is a need for cooperative action to bring the wisdom of religious traditions to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges that humanity faces. The ecological crisis has a spiritual dimension. We must help humanity to develop a reverence for all life and respect for the sacredness of the Earth, our common home.

United Nations General Asembly

Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?.

A Voice For Our Time in finding harmony is that of Chou Tun-yi.

(1017-1073) known as the Master of Lien-hsi. During the Song dynasty (960-1279) , after a period of division and confusion, there was a conscious effort to bring together into a harmonious framework currents of thought which existed in China but often as separate and sometimes hostile schools of thought: Confucianism, Buddhism, philosophical Taoism, and religious Taoism. These efforts were called Tao hsuch -the study of Tao.

Chou Tun-yi was a leading figure in this effort. He developed a philosophy based on the harmony of Yin and Yang, a harmony known through intuition as each person has within himself the capacity to know what is right. This capacity of intuition, what Chou Tun-yi called “straightforwardness in movement”, properly developed, will lead to impartiality and universality, the Confucian ideal of Sagehood. (1)

Today, the currents of thought linked to Christianity and Islam needed to be added to the currents of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. However, the need to develop the capacity of properly using intuition remains a vital approach – a goal for Harmony Week.

Yin and Yang

Image: Photo by Jben Beach Art on Pexels. 

A Harmonious Life and the Principle of Yin and Yang.

Note:

(1) See Fung Yu Lan. A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Macmillan Co. 1950).

  

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Convention on the Rights of the Child Appeals

Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Vital…

Featured Image: Photo by Yannis H on Unsplash.

When the Convention on the Rights of the Child was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989; governments took a major step forward in establishing a framework of world law to protect the basic dignity and rights of children in all parts of the world. 

Therefore on 20 November; we remember with gratitude those who worked to develop the concepts and reality of the Rights of the Child; but also to measure the tasks that are before us; especially as members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This universal framework is based on the principle that each child should have the possibility to develop into an active and responsible member of society. The way in which a society treats its children reflects not only its qualities of compassion and protective caring, but also its sense of justice, its commitment to the future and its urge to better the human condition for continuing generations.

General Asembly

 Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?.

“Save the Children International Union”. 

The effort to create a legal framework for the welfare of the child began early in the League of Nations efforts with the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 which was largely based on a text written by the then newly-established NGO “Save the Children International Union”.  Child welfare has always been a prime example of cooperative efforts among governments, scholars highlighting the conditions of children, and NGOs working actively in the field.

However, the Geneva Declaration served as the basis for the UN General Assembly resolution on the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted also on 20 November 1959.  The 1959 Declaration was followed with more specific provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles; relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice; and the  Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict.

League of Nations

Featured Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

Special Working Group on the Rights of the Child.

In 1978, some representatives of both governments and NGOs in the UN human rights circles in Geneva felt that it was time to bring together these different declarations and provisions into a single text that would have the  legal force of a UN convention.  The Polish delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights took the lead in this effort; but some governments felt that the different declarations needed to be closely reviewed and measured against changing realities.

Thus a Special Working Group on the Rights of the Child was created in 1979  under the chairmanship of the Polish representative; the legal specialist Adam Lopatka. Government and NGO representatives worked together from 1979 to 1988 for a week each year.  There was a core group; including the Association of World Citizens; which worked steadily and which represented a wide range of different beliefs, values and traditions, as well as a wide range of socio-economic realities.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As a result of serious discussions, the  Convention covers a wide range of human rights which can be summarized as the three “Ps”: provision, protection and participation.  Each child has the right to be provided with certain things and services, such as a name and a nationality, to health care and education.  Each child has a right to be protected from certain acts such as torture, exploitation, arbitrary detention and unwarranted removal from parental care.  Each child has a right to participate in decisions affecting their lives as well as in community life.

The Working Group managed to come to a consensus on the final version in time for the General Assembly to adopt it on 20 November 1989, the anniversary date of the Declaration.  The Convention on the Rights of the Child is meant to provide guidance for governments to review national legislation and policies in their child-related initiatives.  It is by examining national law and policy and the effectiveness of government structures and mechanisms that progress can be measured. The Convention also provides a framework of goals for the vital activities of NGOs.  NGOs work on two lines simultaneously: to remind governments of their obligations through approaches to ministries, elected officials and the media and to undertake their own operational efforts.

Article 43 of the Convention.

To help governments to fulfill their obligations and to review national practices, a Committee on the Rights of the Child was created as called for in article 43 of the Convention. The Committee is composed of 10 independent experts elected for a four-year term by the States which have ratified the Convention. The Committee usually meets three times a year for a month each time in Geneva to review and discuss reports submitted by governments, once every four years. The sessions of the Committee are largely carried out in a non-confrontational dialogue with an emphasis on “unmet needs”. The discussion usually lasts six to nine hours for each country. The Committee members have received information and suggestions from NGOs in advance.  The Committee members ask many questions and based on the government’s responses, make suggestions for improving the promotion and protection of children’s rights in the country.

By creating a common legal framework of world law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has increased levels of governmental accountability, bringing about  legislative and institutional reforms, and increasing international cooperation.  As James P. Grant, then UNICEF Executive Director said:

Transcending its detailed provisions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child embodies the fundamental principle that the lives and the normal development of children should have first call on society’s concerns and capacities and that children should be able to depend upon the commitment in good times and in bad, in normal times and in times of emergency, in times of peace and in times of war, in times of prosperity and in times of recession.”

Unicef

Flag of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organization of the United Nations. By Delehaye, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Environment Appeals

Protecting the Environment in Time of War.

November 6 is set by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution (A/RES/56/4) as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
Throughout history; in armed conflicts water wells have been poisoned, crops set on fire, forests cut down, and animals killed to gain military advantage.  Today, many armed conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, diamonds, and fertile land and water.
 

     The Association of World Citizens has stressed that protection of the environment needs to be an important part of conflict prevention. 

 
The resource base that people depend upon for their livelihood needs to be safeguarded.
Most recently; the Association of World Citizens has highlighted the deliberate destruction of food-related resources in the armed conflict between the Ethiopean federal forces and the opposition movements in Tigray.
 
Tigray
 
Image: Ethiopian national defense force 2nd Lt. Aweke Demesse talks with his troops on where to station their perimeter watches during Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s “Train the Trainer” course. By right, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Tigray: After the Calm, A Possible Storm.

 

The restoration of the agricultural infrastructure will be a lengthy process.

 
     Since 4 November 2020; fighting has gone on in Tigray with the deliberate destruction of crops and agricultural infrastructures.  U.N.-led humanitarian food relief was prevented from entering the area. Fortunately; at the start of November 2022; a ceasefire and a peace agreement facilitated by the African Union was signed in South Africa; where the negotiations had been held.
 
The African Union has designated a team of 10 persons to follow up the process.  However; the restoration of the agricultural infrastructure will be a lengthy process.  It is not sure that all the factions involved will agree to the creasefire.  The situation merits a close watch.
 

Efforts  of protection need to be permanent. 

 
     There are currently other conflicts linked to natural resources such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The International Day must serve as a reminder; but efforts  of protection need to be permanent.
The Association of World Citizens will continue its efforts.
 
 
  René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.
 
Democratic Republic of Congo

Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash.

Democratic Republic of Congo — Need for Reconciliation Bridge-Builders.

Credits:

Image Featured: Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Women as Peacemakers Appeals

Women as Peacemakers.

Featured Image: Cynthia Cockburn. The strength of Critique: Trajectories of Marxism – Feminism Internationaler Kongress Berlin 2015. By Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Seeing with eyes that are gender aware, women tend to make connections between the oppression that is the ostensible cause of conflict (ethnic or national oppression) in the light of another cross-cutting one : that of gender regime.  Feminist work tends to represent war as a continuum of violence from the bedroom to the battlefield, traversing our bodies and our sense of self.  

We glimpse this more readily because as women we have seen that ‘the home’ itself is not the haven it is cracked up to be.  Why, if it is a refuge, do so many women have to escape it to ‘refuges’?  And we recognize, with Virginia Woolf, that ‘the public and private worlds are inseparably connected: that the tyrannies and servilities of one are the tyrannies and servilities of the other.


Cynthia Cockburn. Negotiating Gender and National Identities.

The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325.

October 31 is the anniversary of  the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 which calls for full and equal participation of women in conflict prevention, peace processes, and peace-building, thus creating opportunities for women to become fully involved in governance and leadership. 

This historic Security Council resolution 1325 of 31 October 2000 provides a mandate to incorporate gender perspectives in all areas of peace support.  Its adoption is part of a process within the UN system through its World Conferences on Women in Mexico City (1975), in Copenhagen (1980), in Nairobi (1985), in Beijing (1995), and at a special session of the U.N. General Assembly to study progress five years after Beijing (2000).

UN-General-Asembly

 Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?.

Lysistrata.

Since  2000, there have been no radical changes as a result of Resolution 1325, but the goal has been articulated and accepted. Now women must learn to take hold of and generate political power if they are to gain an equal role in peace-making. They must be willing to try new avenues and new approaches as symbolized by the actions of Lysistrata.

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.

Lysistrata

Aubrey Beardsley: Aristophanes Lysistrata, 1896. By Ignatius,, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Time is Ripe” to deal with the issue.

Addressing each person’s underlying needs means that one moves toward solutions that acknowledge and value those needs rather than denying them.  To probe below the surface requires redirecting the energy towards asking ‘what are your real needs here? What interests need to be serviced in this situation?’ The answers to such questions significantly alter the agenda and provide a real point of entry into the negotiation process.

It is always difficult to find a point of entry into a conflict. An entry point is a subject on which people are willing to discuss because they sense the importance of the subject and all sides feel that ‘the time is ripe’ to deal with the issue.

The Art of Conflict Resolution.

The art of conflict resolution is highly dependent on the ability to get to the right depth of understanding and intervention into the conflict.  All conflicts have many layers.  If one starts off too deeply, one can get bogged down in philosophical discussions about the meaning of life.

However, one can also get thrown off track by focusing on too superficial an issue on which there is relatively quick agreement.  When such relatively quick agreement is followed by blockage on more essential questions, there can be a feeling of betrayal.

How do these conflicts affect people in the society?.

Since Lysistrata, women, individually and in groups, have played a critical role in the struggle for justice and peace in all societies.  However, when real negotiations begin, women are often relegated to the sidelines.  However a gender perspective on peace, disarmament, and conflict resolution entails a conscious and open process of examining how women and men participate in and are affected by conflict differently.

It requires ensuring that the perspectives, experiences and needs of both women and men are addressed and met in peace-building activities.  Today, conflicts reach everywhere.  How do these conflicts affect people in the society — women and men, girls and boys, the elderly and the young, the rich and poor, the urban and the rural?.

Conflict Transformation Efforts:

There has been a growing awareness that women and children are not just victims of violent conflict and wars −’collateral damage’ − but they are chosen targets.  Conflicts such as those in Rwanda,  the former Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have served to bring the issue of rape and other sexual atrocities as deliberate tools of war to the forefront of international attention.  Such violations must be properly documented, the perpetrators brought to justice, and victims provided with criminal and civil redress.

I would stress three elements which seem to me to be the ‘gender’ contribution to conflict transformation efforts:

The Domain of Analysis.

  • The first is in the domain of analysis, the contribution of the knowledge of gender relations as indicators of power. Uncovering gender differences in a given society will lead to an understanding of power relations in general in that society, and to the illumination of contradictions and injustices inherent in those relations.

The role of women in specific conflict situations.

  • The second contribution is to make us more fully aware of the role of women in specific conflict situations.  Women should not only be seen as victims of war: they are often significantly involved in taking initiatives to promote peace. Some writers have stressed that there is an essential link between women, motherhood and non-violence, arguing that those engaged in mothering work have distinct motives for rejecting war which run in tandem with their ability to resolve conflicts non-violently. Others reject this position of a gender bias toward peace and stress rather that the same continuum of non-violence to violence is found among women as among men.  In practice, it is never all women nor all men who are involved in peace-making efforts.  Sometimes, it is only a few, especially at the start of peace-making efforts.  The basic question is how best to use the talents, energies, and networks of both women and men for efforts at conflict resolution.

Detailed analysis of the socialization process in a given society.

  •  The third contribution of a gender approach with its emphasis on the social construction of roles is to draw our attention to a detailed analysis of the socialization process in a given society.  Transforming gender relations requires an understanding of the socialization process of boys and girls, of the constraints and motivations which create gender relations. Thus, there is a need to look at patterns of socialization, potential incitements to violence in childhood training patterns, and socially-approved ways of dealing with violence.

The Association of World Citizens has stressed that it is important to have women directly involved in peace-making processes. The strategies women have adapted to get to the negotiating table are testimony to their ingenuity, patience and determination.  Solidarity and organization are crucial elements.   The path may yet be long but the direction is set.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Nuclear weapons Appeals

The NPT and Broader Human Security.

Featured Image: Castle Romeo nuclear test (yield 11 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. It was the first nuclear test conducted on a barge. The barge was located in the Castle Bravo crater. By United States Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, in the risks of escalation they create, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity.”

Jakob Kellenberger, then President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; (known as the NPT Review to its friends); began on 1 August 2022 at the United Nations in New York.  The Secretary- General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres opened the Review by stressing that :

“From the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. To Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The clouds that parted following the end of the Cold War are gathering once more.”

Jakob Kellenberger

 Jakob Kellenberger (born 1944), President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since 2000 at Dies academicus 2003 of the University of Fribourg. By Charly Rappo, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

Antonio Guterres

Antonio Guterres By Quirinale.it, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

As I chaired the representatives of the non-governmental organizations (NGO) at the 1975 and the 1980 Reviews, then held in Geneva, I have a feeling of repeating myself, especially as I participated in the 1985 and 1990 Reviews, after which the Reviews moved to New York.

As the Reviews were not U.N. meetings but were held in U.N. buildings, we were able to negotiate a greater role for NGOs at the review conferences than at the U.N. disarmament meetings.  Yes, there was a time when the U.N. had a Conference on Disarmament which held regular meetings. In addition, there were three U.N. General Assembly Special Sessions of Disarmament, 1978, 1982, 1988.  Disarmament has largely disappeared from the U.N. Agenda, and NGOs are forced to hand out arms control proposals to government U.N. missions, one step away from distributing pornography.

General Asembly

Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?

Military Spending Remains Constant.

The month-long NPT Review aims at having a final resolution highlighting the discussions.  This final resolution must be agreed upon by consensus making bold proposals difficult.  These proposals might be agreed upon if there were majority-minority voting but impossible by consensus.  Another major difficulty is that there are crucial States outside the NPT framework: India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea.

The world’s nuclear arms race arose as a classic case of the security dynamic – a situation in which one State tries to make itself more secure by building weapons and military forces which it says are defensive.  NGOs have constantly stressed that money spent on the nuclear weapons industry would be better spent on public health, climate stabilization and ecologically-sound development.  However, military spending remains constant.  NGOs have also stressed during the Reviews the need for developing confidence-building measures.  But confidence remains in short supply.

The debates and the results of the NPT Review merit being watched closely.

Ending the nuclear weapons era will require dedication, sustained effort and increased cooperation among NGOs. NGO action and cooperation led to the treaties on chemical weapons, land mines and cluster weapons.  Developing the framework for a broadly defined human security is the next major step.  The debates and the results of the NPT Review merit being watched closely.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann Appeals

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. Stewards of this world and its…

Featured Image: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann in New York (2009). Estonian Foreign Ministry, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

In October 2008; the then President of the United Nations General Assembly; Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann urged:

“Let us become stewards of the world and its precious life.  The United Nations is an ongoing experiment in partnership.  Let’s inspire these partnerships with solidarity and compassion.  The trigger for this solidarity does not lie with world leaders.  Nor government bureaucracies.  Nor the corporations.  It comes from people, from civil society, from ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things.”

This call for the development of political will for cooperation and solidarity remains valid today.  The question we must ask ourselves is why has there been so little progress toward compassion as a motive for action.  The United Nations has the structures for mediation, good offices, arbitration, and judicial settlement of disputes.  Thus; an important question is why States so seldom resort to these dispute settlement mechanisms.  There is a crucial role that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can play.  Although the term “world public opinion” has been overused; there is a certain reality to the term.  NGOs can provide some pressure to resolve international conflicts peacefully.

Currently we see the rise of strong, transnational currents of world public opinion around three related themes: the impact of climate change, the protection of biodiversity, and the dangers of world-wide hunger.  Youths are taking an increasing role in these efforts.  We will have to see if these efforts continue.  My analysis is that there are no quick solutions nor great short-term changes.  Thus these three issues will continue and grow in importance.  Compassion and respect for Nature are at the heart of these efforts.  Father d’Escoto Brockmann’s call may become the symbol of these efforts.

Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann

 

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann (2019). Estonian Foreign Ministry, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Garry Davis Portraits of World Citizens.

Garry Davis: “And Now the People Have The Floor”.

Featured Image: Garry Davis by Wim van Rossem for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Garry Davis; who died 24 July 2013, in Burlington, Vermont; was often called “World Citizen N°1”. The title was not strictly exact as the organized world citizen movement began in England in 1937 by Hugh J. Shonfield and his Commonwealth of World Citizens; followed in 1938 by the creation jointly in the USA and England of the World Citizen Association. However; it was Garry Davis in Paris in 1948-1949 who reached a wide public and popularized the term “world citizen”.

The First Wave.

Garry Davis was the start of what I call “the second wave of world citizen action”.  The first wave was in 1937-1940 as an effort to counter the narrow nationalism represented by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and militaristic Japan. This first world citizen wave of action did not prevent the Second World War; but it did highlight the need for a wider cosmopolitan vision.  Henri Bonnet; of the League of Nations’ Committee for Intellectual Co-operation; and founder of the US branch of the World Citizen Association; became an intellectual leader of the Free French Movement of De Gaulle in London; during the War.  Bonnet was a leader in the founding of UNESCO — the reason it is located in Paris — and UNESCO’s emphasis on understanding among cultures.

League of Nations

Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

The Second Wave.

The Second Wave of world citizen action in which Garry Davis was a key figure lasted from 1948 to 1950 — until the start of the war in Korea and the visible start of the Cold War; although, in reality, the Cold War began in 1945 when it became obvious that Germany and Japan would be defeated.  The victorious Great Powers began moving to solidify their positions.  The Cold War lasted from 1945 until 1991 with the end of the Soviet Union. During the 1950-1991 period; most world citizen activity was devoted to preventing a war between the USA and the USSR, working largely within other arms control/disarmament associations and not under a “world citizen flag.”

The Third Wave.

The Third Wave of world citizen action began in 1991 with the end of the Cold War and the rise again of narrow nationalist movements; as seen in the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.  The Association of World Citizens with its emphasis on conflict resolution, human rights, ecologically-sound development, and understanding among cultures is the moving force of this Third Wave.

The two-year Second Wave was an effort to prevent the Cold War which might have become a hot World War Three.  In 1948; the Communist Party took over Czechoslovakia; in what the West called a “coup”; more accurately a cynical manipulation of politics.  The coup was the first example of a post-1945 change in the East-West balance of power; and started speculation on other possible changes as in French Indochina or in 1950 in Korea.  1948 was also the year that the UN General Assembly was meeting in Paris.

The United Nations did not yet have a permanent headquarters in New York; so the General Assembly first met in London and later in Paris.  All eyes; especially those of the media, were fixed on the UN.  No one was sure what the UN would become; if it would be able to settle the growing political challenges or “go the way of the League of Nations”.

Un General Asembly

Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?.

“Song and Dance” Actor.

Garry Davis, born in 1921; was a young Broadway actor in New York prior to the entry of the US in the World War in 1941. Garry Davis was a son of Meyer Davis; a well-known popular band leader who often performed at society balls and was well known in the New York-based entertainment world.  Thus it was fairly natural that his son would enter the entertainment world, as a “song and dance” actor in the musical comedies of those days. Garry had studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology; a leading technology institution.

When the US entered the war; Garry joined the Army Air Force and became a bomber pilot of the B-17, stationed in England with a mission to bomb targets in Germany.  Garry’s brother had been killed in the Allied invasion of Italy; and there was an aspect of revenge in bombing German military targets until he was ordered to bomb German cities in which there were civilians.

The Creation of a World Federation with powers to prevent War.

At the end of the War and back as an actor in New York; he felt a personal responsibility toward helping to create a peaceful world and became active with world federalists; who were proposing the creation of a world federation with powers to prevent war; largely based on the US experience of moving from a highly decentralized government under the Articles of Confederation, to the more centralized Federal Government structured by the Constitution.

At the time, Garry had read a popular book among federalists; The Anatomy of Peace by the Hungarian-born Emery Reves.  Reves had written:

“We must clarify principles and arrive at axiomatic definitions as to what causes war and what creates peace in human society.” If war was caused by a state-centric nationalism as Reves, who had observed closely the League of Nations, claimed, then peace requires a move away from nationalism. As Garry wrote in his autobiography My Country is the World (1) “In order to become a citizen of the entire world, to declare my prime allegiance to mankind, I would first have to renounce my United States nationality. I would secede from the old and declare the new”.

United World Citizen International Identity Card.

In May 1948, knowing that the UN General Assembly was to meet in Paris in September; and earlier the founding meeting of the international world federalists was to be held in Luxembourg, he went to Paris. There he renounced his US citizenship and gave in his passport.  However; he had no other identity credentials in a Europe where the police can stop you and demand that you provide identity papers. So he had printed a “United World Citizen International Identity Card” though the French authorities listed him as “Apatride d’origine americaine”. Paris after the War was filled with “apatride”; but there was probably no other “d’origine americaine”

Giving up US citizenship and a passport which many of the refugees in Paris would have wanted at any price was widely reported in the press and brought him many visitors.  Among the visitors was Robert Sarrazac who had been active in the French resistance and shared the same view of the destructive nature of narrow nationalism; and the need to develop a world citizen ideology.  Garry was also joined by the young Guy Marchand; who would later play an important role in structuring the world citizen movement.

Guy Marchand

Guy Marchand By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

World Citizenship.

As the French police was not happy with people with no valid identity papers wondering around; Garry Davis moved to the large modern Palais de Chaillot  with its terraces which had become “world territory” for the duration of the UN General Assembly. He set up a tent and waited to see what the UN would do to promote world citizenship.  In the meantime; Robert Sarrazac who had many contacts from his resistance activities set up a “Conseil de Solidarite” formed of people admired for their independence of thought, not linked to a particular political party.

The Conseil was led by Albert Camus, novelist and writer for newspapers, Andre Breton, the Surrealist poet, l’Abbé Pierre and Emmanuel Mounier, editor of Esprit, both Catholics of highly independent spirits as well as Henri Roser, a Protestant minister and secretary for French-speaking countries of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Albert Camus

Albert Camus, Nobel prize winner. By Photograph by United Press International, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Albert Camus: Stoic Humanist and World Citizen.

An Interruption.

Davis and his advisors felt that world citizenship should not be left outside the General Assembly hall but had to be presented inside as a challenge to the ordinary way of doing things, “an interruption”. Thus, it was planned that Garry Davis from the visitors balcony would interrupt the UN proceedings to read a short text; Robert Sarrazac had the same speech in French, and Albert Crespey, son of a chief from Togo had his talk written out in his Togolese language.

In the break after a long Yugoslav intervention, Davis stood up.  Father Montecland, “priest by day and world citizen by night” said in a booming voice “And now the people have the floor!” Davis said “Mr Chairman and delegates: I interrupt in the name of the people of the world not represented here. Though my words may be unheeded, our common need for world law and order can no longer be disregarded.”   After this, the security guards moved in, but Robert Sarrazac on the other side of the Visitors Gallery continued in French, followed by a plea for human rights in Togolese. Later, near the end of the UN Assembly in Paris, the General Assembly adopted without an opposition vote, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which became the foundation of world citizens’ efforts to advance world law.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Human Rights: The Foundation of World Law.

The Rue du Cherche Midi.

Dr Herbert Evatt of Australia was the President of the UN General Assembly in 1948.  He was an internationalist who had worked during the San Francisco Conference creating the UN to limit the powers of the Permanent Five of the Security Council.  Evatt met with Davis a few days after the “interruption” and encouraged Davis to continue to work for world citizenship, even if disrupting UN meetings was not the best way.

Shortly after highlighting world citizenship at the UN; Garry Davis went to the support of Jean Moreau; a young French world citizen and active Catholic; who as a conscientious objector to military service, had been imprisoned in Paris as there was no law on alternative service in France at the time. Davis camped in front of the door of the military prison at the Rue du Cherche Midi in central Paris.  As Davis wrote:

“When it is clearly seen that citizens of other nations are willing to suffer for a man born in France claiming the moral right to work for and love his fellow man rather than be trained in killing him, as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tsu, Tolstoy, St Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and other great thinkers and religious leaders have taught, the world may begin to understand that the conscience of Man itself rises above all artificially-created divisions and fears.” (2).

Herbert Evatt

Dr Herbert Evatt By Max Dupain, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Others joined Davis in camping on the street.  Garry Davis worked closely on this case with Henri Roser and Andre Trocme of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Davis was put in jail for camping on the city street and also for not having valid identification documents, but his place on the street was filled with others, including a German pacifist, an act of courage so soon after the end of the War.  It took another decade before alternative service in France was put into place, but Davis’ action had led to the issue being widely raised in France, and the link between world citizenship and non-violent action clearly drawn.

Garry Davis was never an “organizational man”.  He saw himself as a symbol in action.  After a year in France with short periods in Germany, he decided in July 1949 to return to the US. As he wrote at the time:

“I have often said that it is not my intention to head a movement or to become president of an organization. In all honesty and sincerity, I must define the limit of my abilities as being a witness to the principle of world unity, defending to the limit of my ability the Oneness of man and his immense possibilities on our planet Earth, and fighting the fears and hatreds created artificially to perpetuate narrow and obsolete divisions which lead and have always led to armed conflict.”

Perhaps by the working of karma, on the ship taking him to the USA, he met Dr. P. Natarajan, a south Indian religious teacher in the Upanishadic tradition.  Natarajan had lived in Geneva and Paris and had a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris.  He and Davis became close friends, and Davis spent some time in India at the center created by Natarajan who stressed the development of the inner life.  “Meditation consists of bringing all values inside yourself” was a motto of Natarajan.

It was at the home of Harry Jakobsen, a follower of Natarajan, on Schooly Mountain, New Jersey that I first met Garry Davis in the early 1950s. I was also interested in Indian philosophy, and someone put me in contact with Jakobsen. However, I had joined what was then the Student World Federalists in 1951 so I knew of the Paris adventures of Garry. We have since seen each other in Geneva, France and the US from time to time.

As well as a World Citizen.

Some world federalists and world citizens thought that his renunciation of US citizenship in 1948 confused people.  The more organization-minded world federalists preferred to stress that one can be a good citizen of a local community, a national state as well as a world citizen.   However Davis’ and my common interest in Asian thought was always a bond beyond any tactical disagreements.

Today, it is appropriate to cite the oft-used Indian image of the wave as an aspect of the one eternal ocean of energy.  Each individual is both an individual wave and at the same time part of the impersonal source from which all comes and returns.  Garry Davis as a wave has now returned to the broader ocean.  He leaves us a continuing challenge writing:

“There is vital need now for wise and practical leadership, and the symbols, useful up to a point, must now give way to the men qualified for such leadership.”

Notes.

1) Garry Davis. My Country is the World (London: Macdonald Publishers, 1962)

2) Garry Davis.Over to Pacifism:A Peace News Pamphlet (London: Peace News, 1949)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizen.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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