THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE
The following is what I highlighted during my
read of this excellent book -- I recommend it at the top of my Top-ten List of
Peace resources. My purpose in providing them is to interest you, the
reader, and hope that you will obtain and read the complete work. To
properly understand the highlights, you need to read the book to put them in
the proper context. The 260 page book can be ordered for $24.95 from
Novalis, 49 Front Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada M5E 1B3; telephone
1-877-702-7773 or (416) 363-3303; email firstname.lastname@example.org
; web site http://www.novalis.ca ; ISBN
2-89507-409-7 (2003). This books is
"Everything You Wanted To Know About Building Peace". It
describes the current Culture of War, the coming Culture of Peace, and
Changing Our Attitude to make the changes necessary. Most important, the
book is written by a highly respected Senator of the Government of Canada and
it pulls no punches.
You will also be interested to read a
short Book Review of The Human Right to Peace by Canadian peace educator Dr.
Larry Fisk, PhD.
THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE by Douglas Roche
Introduction: Moving to Creativity
- though these world problems are rooted in a host
of factors, none can be resolved adequately unless we end the dominance of the
culture of war
- war comes out of our culture -- the way we are
socialized to interact with one another
- hatred exploits the brutalities of the poverty,
oppression, power and greed of modern society. The powerful need to
understand about the causes of that hatred ... addressing the great
- an immense double standard prevails: in one
breath, governments plead an inability to fund social and environmental needs,
and in the next breath, they appropriate huge sums to prepare and execute
- starving peace processes
- action is urgently needed. The goal must
be to build a world system that will make war extinct.
- we must do to ensure our very survival
- core values of respect for life, liberty,
justice, and equity; a mutual respect; and personal integrity
- People's Millennium Forum
- One shows the creativity of humanity; the other
its destructiveness. To move to creativity, we must shine a light on
world conditions. Only then can we appreciate how we must change our
attitudes toward war and peace.
- we must build a just world if humanity is to
Part 1: The Culture of War
1. Violence as a Way of Life
- the major states, the most profligate, are never
named because they control the agenda of international meetings where UN
documents are presented
- the "military-industrial complex"
- insatiable demands
- violent conflict has often resulted from the
traditional preoccupation of governments to defend, maintain, or extend their
interests and power
- when long-standing grievances are exploited
by political demagogues, the scene is set for violence
- factors: (1) a lack of democratic processes and
unequal access to power; social inequality marked by grossly unequal
distribution of, and access to, resources; (2) control by a single national
group of valuable natural resources, such as gems, oil, timber and drugs; (3)
rapid demographic change that outstrips the capacity of the state to provide
essential services and job opportunities; (4) the availability of weapons
- requires a belief that power can be obtained or
maintained by violence
- CNN chairman Walter Isaacson sent a memo to his
staff ordering them to "balance" reports of civilian destruction in
Afghanistan with reminders that the Taliban had harboured terrorists
- the scale of human suffering in Afghanistan has
given the lie to Western claims of beneficence
- U.S. forces openly boasted (the 1991 Iraq
retreat) was a "turkey shoot"
- President (George W.) Bush told the American
people: "The UN Security Council has not lived up to its
responsibilities." That statement -- the ultimate justification for
going to war (with Iraq in 2003) -- could not have been more wrong.
- regime change
- the strategy of containment
- new U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive attack
- gullible public ... manipulated by government
- in this moral teaching (i.e. just war),
legitimate self-defence is allowed "once every means of peaceful
settlement has been exhausted."
- only the Security Council can authorize war
- the veto power possessed by each of the five
permanent members of the Security Council ... keeps the Security Council from
enforcing its resolutions; the major powers will not let it have a standing
force capable of rapid deployment to zones of conflict
- if the UN legal machinery is deliberately kept
weak, then the very states that are keeping it weak cannot legitimately claim
a just right to make war when there is a crisis
- The Responsibility to Protect
- the claim that serious disputes cannot be
resolved without warfare rings hollow in the modern age, which has at its
disposal a wide array of UN tools. If states will not put themselves
under the purview of the UN in resolving conflict, that is a sad reflection of
their own obduracy.
Chapter 2. The Effect of Militarism on a Fragile
- Agenda 21, a detailed blueprint of 115 programs
to address the many strands of sustainable development
- sustainable development needs of the
- in effect, a global partnership was envisaged to
build a more efficient and equitable world economy
- devastating assessment of life on the planet
- accused governments, and their self-interested
"business as usual" policies
- what is holding back humanity from achieving
equitable development for all the world's peoples?
- four pillars of human security: peace,
development, equity and justice
- if the gulf between the two worlds is not
bridged, turbulence and ever more violent storms lie ahead
- wealth built on power .. power is built on
- are the permanent members responsible for all of
the world's ills?
- there is a dominant characteristic: the
legitimate aspirations of humanity are constantly being dashed by power
structures underpinned by a war culture
- security ... demands both disarmament and
development: Security consists of not only military, but also political,
economic, social, humanitarian and human rights and ecological aspects
- no nation should spend more on its military than
on the education and health of its people
- a global fund for human security
- more instability and chaos in the years ahead
- fresh water, the foremost requirement for life,
is becoming scarce and will be the source of increasing conflicts in the
- attacks to gain access to resources must be
declared as a crime on humanity
- St. Lucia ... had set a high standard to replace
fossil fuel with renewable energy, but that "the World Bank asks us to
privatize our water, electricity and telephone services. On the one
hand, we have to privatize, but when we attempt to put our policy of renewable
energy into action, the multinationals frustrate every effort we make, as they
are only interested in the rate of return."
- current atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its
highest level in 420,000 years
- the misguided priorities of governments, which
rush to feed the culture of war while skimping on programs to build human
security in a suffering and fragile world, are outrageous and tragic
Chapter 3. The Massive Lie of Nuclear Weapons
- The culture of war is built upon the enormous
lie that weapons bring security
- any use of nuclear weapons today would
constitute a criminal act - a crime against humanity
- the very idea of nuclear weapons is to kill
- such descriptions of the overwhelming effects of
nuclear weapons are not found in the general political and military literature
- the proposition that nuclear weapons can be
retained in perpetuity and never used - accidentally or by decision - defies
credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons
and assurance that they will never be produced again.
- the responsibility for the looming prospect of a
nuclear war of some dimension can be laid squarely on the U.S., Russia, the
U.K, France and China
- the breakdown of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
- the U.S. turned its back on the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty
- nuclear weapons are the currency of power
- subterfuge that has characterized the nuclear
disarmament agenda for more than three decades
- sleight-of-hand nuclear disarmament
- they treat nuclear disarmament as a game
- "Not a single person of the many hundreds I
have polled voiced the belief that the true intention of the United States is,
or ever has been, to abolish nuclear weapons. ... the prospect of nuclear
abolition is deemed so remote as to be implausible." Bruce Blair
- the other nuclear states are just as devious
- the nuclear weapons states hold the major
responsibility for setting up legal regimes to ensure the elimination of all
- the United States is in the dominant position of
deciding which way the world will go on nuclear weapons: toward permanence or
- it is futile to speak of nuclear disarmament
without focusing intensely on the role of the U.S.
- startling new doctrine of pre-emptive attack,
first used against Iraq in 2003
- international law does not countenance
pre-emptive attacks in self-defence unless there is compelling evidence of an
- its nuclear weapons stockpile remains a
cornerstone of U.S. national security policy
- the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review says
that there are four reasons to possess nuclear weapons: to "assure allies
and friends, dissuade competitors, deter aggressors, and defeat enemies"
- astounding that, in the light of this
development, the U.S. representative at the 2003 Geneva meeting of the parties
to the Non-Proliferation Treaty declared: "We are not developing new
- "nuclear weapons are necessary to deter a
potential U.S. attack" ten U.S.
senators led by Senator Edward Kennedy
- U.S. claims the right to set its own rules
- New Agenda Coalition
- NATO's Strategic Concept holds that nuclear
weapons are "essential"
- kill the basis of trust
- the dark side of nanotechnology has been
recognized by strategists who see it as a possibility for achieving a new
level of effectiveness in fighting wars
- "mankind is confronted with a choice: we
must halt the arms race and proceed to disarmament or face annihilation"
- "Quite often the big countries that are
responsible for the peace of the world set a very poor example for those who
might hunger for the esteem or the power or the threats that they can develop
from nuclear weapons themselves." 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and
past President Jimmy Carter
- the danger of a nuclear catastrophe grows
- that catastrophe may well be set off by
- virtually all experts on the subject say it is
not a question of whether a massive attack will occur, but when
- so destabilize international relations that the
law of the jungle might well replace the rule of law
- the radioactive materials needed to build a
dirty bomb can be found in almost any country in the world
- biological weapons can be made cheaply in a
small building, even in the back of a truck
- U.S. rejected
- biological and chemical weapons have long been
considered the "poor man's" weapon
- but nuclear weapons are an elite form of
- they have always claimed that nuclear weapons
are necessary for their security. This is not true. But even if it
were true, why would not non-nuclear states claim the right to the same
weapons for their security?
- nuclear weapons are not about security; they are
about power, and they are the most vivid expression of the culture of war
- the culture of war has a very strong hold on
public thinking. In fact, while people aspire to peace and say they
support abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, they uncritically
continue to accept the lies produced by the propaganda apparatuses of
governments that nuclear weapons are essential to their security.
- "a collective form of psychic numbing"
- misleading official statements and government
- world consciousness has been dulled
- the ultimate evil appears to be too far removed
from daily life to engage our attention. It is almost as if the issue is
too big to handle.
- Nuclear weapons not only assault life on the
planet, they assault the planet itself, and in so doing they assault the
process of continuing development of the planet.
- the circle of fear, perpetuated by those with a
vested interest in maintaining nuclear weapons, is unending.
- deliberately deceiving the world. Humanity
faces the gravest of futures if the world is to be ruled by militarism and the
culture of war rather than law.
- morally bankrupt
- a world ruled by law is the only hope for a
peace with security and stability
- in order to protect the civilian population,
states must never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between
civilian and military targets ... states do not have unlimited freedom of
choice of weapons
- the determined maintenance of nuclear weapons by
the powerful few is the factor that inhibits the processes of building the
conditions for peace in regions of conflict
- "Those who stand to lose wealth, prestige
and control in a peaceful world are determined to maintain high levels of fear
and hatred. Gullible publics are being persuaded that only a powerful
military backed by nuclear weapons can protect them from their enemies."
Mayor of Hiroshima
- The very idea that a small group of wealthy and
powerful individuals should have the power over government policies that spend
billions of dollars on military overkill while so many people live in
life-threatening poverty is intolerable.
Part II: The Culture of Peace
Chapter 4. Life in Full Vibrancy
- imposed harsh taxes ... to make sure they did
not become politically powerful
- (Martin Luther King) conspiring to interfere
with the bus company's operations
- love your enemies ... "Far from being
the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute
necessity for the survival of our civilization." (MLK) added:
"There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. ...
Mahatma Gandhi discovered it ... but most men and women never discover it.
For they believe in hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for
a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says,
'This isn't the way'."
- The appeal of non-violence is that it directly
challenges the logic (or illogic) of trying to make the world a more peaceful
place by using violence as a tool.
- peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, picketing,
vigils, fasting and hunger strikes, work stoppages, blockages, and other forms
of civil disobedience
- A Season for Non-Violence ... Mandela ... Dalai
Lama ... Mother Teresa
- so overpowering is the culture of war that it
- a deep mistrust are deeply imbedded in populaces
- there are significant signs that a culture of
peace is being born
- the essential ideas of a culture of peace were
then developed into a memorandum by David Adams
- promoting collaboration
- the goal is to further universal respect for
justice, for the rule of law, and for human rights and fundamental freedoms
- just as war begins in the minds of individuals,
so must peace. Thus the organization (UNESCO) seeks to "build the
defences of peace" in the minds of individuals.
- Respect for life and the dignity and human
rights of individuals; rejection of violence; recognition of equal rights for
men and women; support for the principles of democracy, freedom, justice,
solidarity, tolerance, the acceptance of differences; and Communication and
understanding between nations and countries and between ethnic, religious,
cultural, and social groups
- violence can be prevented through a more
tolerant common global ethic
- education as an essential tool
- contrasting alternatives between a culture of
war and a culture of peace:
CULTURE OF WAR
CULTURE OF PEACE
enemy images 1.
understanding, tolerance, and solidarity
2. armaments and armies 2.
disarmament, general and complete
authoritarian governance 3.
4. secrecy and propaganda
4. free flow of information and knowledge
5. violence (structural and physical)
5. respect for all human rights
6. male domination
6. equality between women and men
education for war
7. education for a culture of peace
8. exploitation of the weak
8. sustainable economic
and of the environment
and social development
- the world is experiencing a fundamental crisis
... it is fundamentally a crisis of the human spirit
- reached the point where we are capable of
destroying all life on earth just at the moment when the recognition of the
inherent human rights of everyone is beginning to take hold
- the culture of peace offers the vision of a
global ethic toward life in full vibrancy; the culture of war offers the
prospect of misery and annihilation
- a rigorous UNESCO evaluation of the El Salvador
project confirmed the value of the Culture of Peace program
- considering the resources available, the culture
of peace could be extended beyond any one country's situation and embrace the
development of a global culture of peace movement
- proposed an additional human right, the human
"right to peace"
- "us" against "them"
- urgency to this work to head off a "shared
- Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury
- a set of values, attitudes, traditions, and
modes of behaviour and ways of life based on ... (see book for list)
- integrally linked to ... (see book for list)
- Programme of Action ... education;... (see book
- Manifesto 2000 ... Respect all life ... Reject
violence ... Share with others ... Listen to Understand ... Preserve the
planet ... Rediscover solidarity
- Young Peacemakers Club
- the Western governments have always been
reluctant to pursue programs explicitly designed to build peace and absolutely
hostile to any action that would infringe on their right to make war. A
government cannot start a war if its people do not believe in the power of
force and if they are not convinced there is an enemy. These same
governments have made sure that UNESCO's funding was kept at a low level.
- "The powerful member states hesitate to
empower an agency that might call into question the very basis of their power
and wealth, the culture of war." David Adams
- Since a culture of peace is essentially about
values, its implementation will depend very much on how the forces of
religion, education, and civil society will advance the concept
- creating and nurturing a culture of peace is a
social movement. It requires a profound transformation in our thinking
and acting. No wonder governments are perplexed by it, for the culture
of peace challenges the status quo. It is a counter-cultural way of life
to the culture of war.
- it supplies the moral foundation for
establishing a better individual and global order - a vision that can lead
individuals away from despair and society away from chaos
- along with religious formation, general
education has a fundamental role in advancing a culture of peace
- educational curricula should be revised and
teacher training undertaken
- new initiatives in peace education
- in elaborating a culture of peace, it is
necessary to deal with the inertia, opposition, and cynicism that remain such
powerful obstacles to its implementation
- in the past, the machinery of war has not built
the kind of world in which people everywhere can achieve human security.
Why can it be expected to do so today? Rather, it is the slow,
painstaking construction of a new culture of peace that offers hope for a
better future. The values of such a culture are well worth the time
developing them takes. The momentum of history, buttressed by new
life-enhancing technologies, is on the side of the culture of peace.
Chapter 5. Peace: A "Sacred Right"
- one of the world's best-kept secrets
- concept -- "the peoples of our planet have
a sacred right to peace"
- "peace system"
- calls upon countries to ensure that their
international and national policies are directed toward achieving life in
peace, especially with regard to younger generations
- preservation of the right of peoples to peace
"constitute[s] a fundamental obligation of each State
- simply stated, without peace every other right
- laid out a strategy to achieve it. The
plan called for energies to be refocused on the systemic and root causes of
- First, the Declaration calls for immediate
action on urgent issues such as poverty, environmental destruction, and
international justice, and it calls upon the international community to
provide the UN system with the necessary resources and power to tackle these
challenges. In other works, countries need to reduce their investment in
arms and militarism and reinvest in the construction of peace. The
second strategy involves a massive education campaign focused on youth and
designed to foster an understanding and tolerance of other cultures as well as
an understanding of the value of peace and justice.
- three interrelated components ... of the Draft
Oslo Declaration on the Human Right to Peace: 1. Peace as a human right; 2.
Peace as a duty; and 3. Peace through the culture of peace
- challenge to the hypocrisy dominating the world
- the US delegate stated, "Peace should
not be elevated to the category of human right, otherwise it will be very
difficult to start a war."
- put his finger precisely on why a human right to
peace is needed
- although the resolution had 90 votes in favour,
a hefty 50 negative votes (mostly Western countries ...) were cased against
it, and 14 abstentions ... Such division renders the resolution practically
- an objective reading of the text does not
provide any reason for rejection -- unless a state wants to keep its options
for warfare open
- the resolution was hailed as a landmark in
efforts to move the world body from a culture of reacting to crises to one of
preventing them reaching critical mass
- it is a significant step forward by the UN in
preparing the way for the right to peace
- Promotion of the Right of Peoples to Peace ...
(see book for list)
- three generations of rights: "First
generation" ... to protect the liberty of the individual from the tyranny
and abuse of the state; "Second generation" economic, social and
cultural rights ... opposing unjust social inequality; and a new "Third
generation" of rights developing as a product of the urgent problems of
globalization ... they require the symbiotic co-operation between people and
- They are new in that they may both be invoked
against the State and demanded of it; but above all (and herein lies their
essential characteristic) they can be realized only through the concerted
efforts of all actors on the social scene
- essentially, third generation rights call for
the redistribution of power and resources, and consider the current
international system ineffective in its attempts to resolve contemporary
issues. Third generation rights include: the right to political,
economic, and cultural self-determination; the right to economic and social
development; the right to participate in and benefit from the common heritage
of mankind; the right to a healthy environment ; the right to humanitarian
relief; and the right to peace. The key characteristic of these rights
is that they are fundamentally collective in nature and require international
co-operation for their achievement.
- first and second generation rights are permeated
by an atmosphere of selfishness
- for society to achieve its full potential, it is
necessary to participate co-operatively within the community. Achieving
this demands major changes from the individualistic attitude that prevails in
- an awakening. World problems can no longer
be solved by the actions of one state alone.
- the most important among these newly emerging
rights is the human right to peace
- the right to peace is unique. It
transcends all other rights, enables their exercise, and offers the innovation
needed to lift up society and allow it to achieve its full potential in an
interconnected world. Indeed, without basic security of the person,
other human rights are but an illusion.
- the right to peace and other third generation
rights have never been formalized into a legal treaty, much less specific
- there is, thus, a technological burden with
which the other two generations of human rights were never designed to cope,
and the right to peace is an attempt to respond to the perils of the modern
- the fact that so much progress has been made in
recognizing, defining, and implementing the right to peace is a sign of the
advance of civilization
- get at the systemic causes of the problems faced
by the international community today
- "the human person is the central subject of
- education and health
- development requires the presence of peace, and
peace cannot endure without the conditions of development
- human rights are inherent in each human being.
They are not conferred by the state
- Convention on the Rights of the Child ... is the
most universally accepted human rights instrument in history
- the first thing the child needs to grow up
safely is a peaceful environment
- the political system has not yet sufficiently
- a full discussion of the right to peace puts a
new spotlight on the age-old question of the abolition of war itself. In
the new era of weapons of mass destruction, the viability of war as a legal
means to resolve disputes is clearly over.
- "the main function of the right to peace is
the promotion and protection of the right to life through peaceful settlement
of disputes, by the prohibition of the threat or use of force in international
relations, by the prohibition of the manufacture, use and deployment of
nuclear weapons, and by total disarmament."
- a new army ... of highly informed, dedicated,
and courageous citizens of all countries who do see the perils ahead
Chapter 6. The United Nations: Making Haste Slowly
- in this world, the best response to today's
heightened vulnerability is for the UN to step up its life-saving work around
- the UN offers the blueprint
- the UN is still in its infancy
- enforceable multilateral instruments
- the McCloy-Zorin Accords (1961) ... would have
buried the culture of war ... a framework for comprehensive disarmament ...
more comprehensive than anything found today ... the UN would have an
international peace force ... astounding
- the UN is our best hope to build the conditions
for peace and provide human security for everyone
- Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace ...
(see book for list)
- (the UN Secretary General) has nothing but his
- a stirring document -- "We the
Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the Twenty-first Century"
- realize that humanity is indivisible
- if ever fully implemented, the Millennium
Declaration would make the world a peaceful (and pleasant) place
- the aim is to galvanize public opinion
- a Declaration and Agenda for Action that
called for a Global Poverty Eradication Fund, a Global Habitat Conservation
Fund, a UN Peace Force, and a UN Humanitarian Commission
- in it, the NGO group resolved "to create
a global civil society forum as a permanent forum to deal with UN
institutions, the UN reform process, member states and other
- 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 2.
Attain universal primary education in all countries by the year 2015; 3.
Promote gender equality and empower women; 4. Reduce child mortality; 5.
Improve maternal health; 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; 7.
Ensure environmental sustainability; 8. Develop a global partnership for
- show clearly how far ahead of government the
advanced wing of civil society is moving
- develop additional revenue sources for the UN
- governments must also stop starving the UN of
- the entire UN system ... costs $12 billion
a year. This is 1/70th the amount of annual world military expenditures.
- those who claim the UN is a bloated "talk
shop" are either ignorant or mischievous
- one of the great paradoxes of our time ...
Finances are a reflection of the prevailing problem of power structures, which
are the very factors continuing to shore up the culture of war.
- governments, not people, run the organization
- "Many countries, including some of the most
powerful, use the UN as a fig leaf and a smokescreen to blur unwanted focus,
to defuse political pressure, or to dilute or evade their own
responsibilities. States - again, even the most powerful - often make
commitments that they fail to honour."
- the UN's job is not just to clean up after
wars; it is to prevent them
- "[The UN is] the indispensable font of
international authority and the irreplaceable forum for authorizing
international military enforcement."
- Just because the organization cannot prevent all
wars does not invalidate its work of trying to do so. The work of
achieving disarmament by peaceful means rather than war must go on.
- An Agenda For Peace ... recommended a permanent
UN force of "peace enforcement units"
- some hold that the overarching job of the UN is
to keep the peace, and not legitimize or authorize (let alone make) war under
- the peace in my community is not impaired but is
helped by the presence of the local police
- we will see the major powers continue to wage
war when they deem it in their interests to do so. As long as each of
the five permanent members of the Security Council has a veto, the
effectiveness of the Council will be impaired.
Part III: Changing Our Attitude
Chapter 7. Religions: A Reconciliation of Peoples
- history shows that the true shapers of past
cultures and civilizations have not been political leaders so much as
- we must resist this "hijacking" of ...
- the Islamic world is offended by the West's
cultural triumphalism, backed up by overwhelming military force
- "it was God that mattered, not how people
interpreted their experience of the divine"
- should stress the things that unite
- fundamentalism that has emerged in every major
religious tradition as an impediment to religious co-operation for the common
- fundamentalists experience this as a cosmic war
between the forces of good and evil
- fundamentalists pit themselves against the
secularism that drives so many societies today. In doing so, they
neglect the more tolerant, inclusive, and compassionate teachings of religion
- "fundamentalists have no time for
democracy, pluralism, religious toleration, peacekeeping, free speech, or the
separation of church and state"
- fundamentalist ideologies are rooted in fear
- faith communities help to shape societies and
cultures through the core values they proclaim. Interfaith co-operation
can make shared values more evident. Religious leaders can contribute to
conciliation and mediate efforts.
- Golden Rule, or the ethic of reciprocity ... as
the most concise and general principle of ethics
- differences must not be allowed to obscure our
much more significant commonalities
- religious communities are the largest and
best-organized civil institutions in the world today, claiming the allegiance
of billions of believers. They are uniquely equipped to meet modern
challenges: resolving conflicts, ...
- "What is hateful to you, do not to your
fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary."
- religion must inspire the state. It must
do this not through triumphalism, but through humility
- the crisis of our time requires religions to
speak to the consciences of humanity with a message of unity. We have
one destiny. We live or die together in the struggle for peace.
- Declaration of the Religions for a Global Ethic
- there will be no survival without a world ethic,
no world peace without peace between the religions, and no peace between the
religions without dialogue between the religions
- History has shown that: A better global order
cannot be created or enforced by laws, prescriptions, and conventions alone;
The realization of peace, justice, and the protection of Earth depends on the
insight and readiness of men and women to act justly; Action in favour of
rights and freedoms presumes a consciousness of responsibility and duty, and
that therefore both the minds and hearts of women and men must be addressed;
Rights without morality cannot long endure, and that there will be no better
global order without a global ethic.
- The Preamble of the Declaration of a Global
Ethic ... (see book for list)
- by a global ethic, I mean a fundamental
consensus of binding values, irrevocable standards, and personal attitudes.
Without such a fundamental consensus on an ethic, sooner or later every
community will be threatened by chaos or dictatorship, and individuals will
- "What you wish done to yourself, do to
others!" The Golden Rule put in positive terms
- no one has the right to physically or
psychologically torture, injure, much less kill, any other human being
- where extreme poverty reigns, helplessness and
despair spread. Where power and wealth are accumulated ruthlessly,
feelings of envy, resentment, deadly hatred, and rebellion inevitably well up
in the disadvantaged and marginalized. This leads to a vicious circle of
violence and counter-violence.
- the media today are duty bound to objectivity,
fairness, and the preservation of human dignity; they have no right to
manipulate public opinion or distort reality. Political leaders, when
they lie in the faces of their people, forsake their credibility and deserve
to lose their offices.
- World Conference on Religion and Peace
- religious leadership in the movement for peace
must begin with the reconciliation of the religious institutions themselves
- in our secular society, such religious
affirmations are compartmentalized
- must ... become emboldened to present the
framework for a new global ethic to modern society in the sure knowledge that
secularism, for all its technological prowess, has robbed the human soul of
- waging a war against secularism is not the
answer. Rather, what the world urgently needs is sharing and
communicating the insights into the human condition from as many different
perspectives and traditions as possible
- join in a common global ethic
- "We believe that all humanity could uphold
the core values of respect for life, liberty, justice and equity, mutual
respect, caring, and integrity."
- chief among these values is a respect for life
and its corollary, non-violence
- the quality of life in any society depends to a
great extent of the degree to which its members accept a duty to care for
- Global Charter of Civil Society ... rights ...
responsibilities ... (see book for list)
- secular humanism
- Today, religious leadership, in a spirit of
humility and service, should take the first step and, with a united voice,
loudly proclaim support for the UN global strategies of disarmament,
development, equity and justice - these elements are the basis for the culture
- the preservation of the planet must be assured
as a first step in the expression of our love for God
- the one world in which we live has a chance for
survival only if there is no longer any room in it for spheres of differing,
contradictory, and even antagonistic ethics. "This one world needs
one basic ethic. ... need some norms, values, ideals and goals to bring it
together and to be binding on it."
- reconciliation is the highest form of dialogue
- reconciliation demands that we seek peace with
- the terrorists, the irresponsible politicians,
and the bigots may well be active and vociferous, but they certainly are a
minority. they are prominent because their strong suit is destruction,
which takes little time and marginal courage. To build, to discover, and
to strive for achievements that will benefit all human beings takes more
courage, more effort, and more time.
Chapter 8. Education:A "Weapon" for
- Peace is a wonderful word with a sublime
meaning, yet our society as a whole is afraid to embrace it, to nourish it, to
celebrate it, and to rejoice in the wholeness of our humanity that peace
- we shun the idea of making peace education
compulsory for all children
- the best, if not the only, way to bring this
about is through education
- today's security dilemmas are too multifaceted
to be left in the hands of an elite few
- people at all levels need to be empowered to
assess and evaluate the possibilities for change
- this can be accomplished, but only if
governments, communities, and individuals take the culture of peace to heart
- transmit knowledge about the key peace education
themes of co-operation, conflict resolution, non-violence, human rights,
social justice, world resources, global environment, and multicultural
- education ... is a very big subject that goes
far beyond the classroom
- the definition (of peace education) I favour is
this: " ... teaching encounters that draw out from people their desires
for peace and provide them with non-violent alternatives for managing
conflicts, as well as the skills for critical analysis of the structural
arrangements that legitimate and produce injustice and inequality." Ian
Harris and John Synott
- Some of the attitudes evoked by peace education
include: Curiosity, both intellectual and cultural; Appreciation of diversity,
receptivity to new perspectives, and a sense of commonality of humankind's
needs, rights, aspirations, and talents; Concern for justice, commitment to
equality; Tolerance of uncertainty, conflict and change; Capacity for
creativity, risk taking, and thinking in images and symbols; World awareness,
holistic thinking, and a respect for life forms and their place in the web of
- objectives in fostering integrated thinking: 1.
To learn how to think rather than what to think about issues; 2. To develop
critical thinking skills in an informed citizenry; 3. To deepen understanding
of the multiple factors at the local, national, regional and global levels
that either foster or undermine peace; 4. To encourage attitudes and actions
which promote peace; 5. To convey relevant information and foster a responsive
attitude to current and future security challenges through the development and
widespread availability of improved methodologies and research techniques; 6.
To bridge political, regional and technological divides by bringing together
ideas, concepts, people, groups and institutions; 7. To project at all levels
the values of peace, tolerance, non-violence, dialogue and consultation as the
basis for interaction among peoples, countries and civilizations.
- the present generation has been left
ill-prepared to adapt peaceably to a globalized world demanding precisely
the opposite qualities
- truth, justice, love, liberty
- in a world where our fate is held in common,
simply learning to manage conflict within the current war system - through
arms control, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance, to name a few
examples - is not enough. We must do something more profound.
- security cannot come from the barrel of a gun
- to cement peace in place, a much deeper and
sustained effort is needed to educate present and future generations to use
non-violent means to resolve conflict
- the most effective way to inspire activism, and
thus change, is through learning at every stage of life
- the argument in support of peace education...:
In such a violent world, young people need help in relating their own lives to
the violence they see around them. Often they are so distraught by
violence that they cannot focus on their lessons. There already exists a
solid body of research showing that college students who take conflict
resolutions classes tend to address issues of daily conflict in their own
lives, giving themselves a greater sense of control. Also, conflict
resolution education supports the development of resilience in young people.
It improves students' social and emotional competency, conflict behaviour, and
academic performance. It contributes to a healthy school climate by
reducing vandalism, violence, absenteeism, and failure. Young people who
receive this form of peace education are less aggressive and more
pro-social." Ian Harris
- it is hard to quantify results
- peace education promotes the use of preventative
diplomacy and, thus, living peacefully on the planet. It gives young
people insights into the sources of violence and empowers them to avoid and
- "War and all forms of violence are
interrelated, as evidenced by the culture of violence that surrounds us.
War is the core institution of the present global security system, the fount
from which pour forth the rationalizations for and habits of violence found in
so many aspects of life."
- "Enabling learners to see these
possibilities and to understand these mechanisms is a primary responsibility
of the field of peace education for the twenty-first century."
- the world cannot continue to tolerate national
states' insistence on their own rights at the expense of others
- International Peace Research Association
- New curricula should: 1. Assist in developing
critical skills and critical thinking on the subject; 2. Take into account
that disarmament and non-proliferation education is an integral and essential
part of peace education; 3. Cover all levels of the education system and be
adapted to the needs of the various social and economic groups concerned; 4.
Take into account the special cultural, economic, and social characteristics
of each country; 5. Adopt a multidisciplinary approach; 6. Highlight the human
dimensions of conflict, including individual experiences from victims and
survivors of war; 7. Provide a forum for dialogue on conflict reduction, which
is essential for achieving the goals of peace education.
- the Internet. Exaggerating its importance
would be hard
- The Internet is the antidote to the mainline
media's fixation on the culture of war
- If knowledge is power, ... the average person
... has never been so powerful
- the oft-heard goal of "a computer in every
classroom" could be achieved if governments put more money into the
culture of peace than the culture of war
- two inter-related goals: capacity building
(leadership training) and reform of educational systems
- (UPeace Chair Maurice) Strong envisions a
"peace research network"
- Peace education will produce new leaders and
enlightened citizens who can advance informed and responsible human security
initiatives and can generate information that NGOs can use to rouse public
opinion. In short, education provides the tools to achieve the goals of
good governance, the culture of peace, and full participation in civil society
Chapter 9. Civil Society: New Demands for a Humane
- has the potential to drive political processes
everywhere toward implementing the elements of a culture of peace
- civil society activism in advancing social
justice has reached a new level of involvement and is now empowering millions
of persons around the world in bringing forward their concerns
- this is the beginning of systemic change
- three trends ... First, the string of UN
conferences on all major global problems ... unleashed a torrent of civic
involvement that spilled far beyond traditional NGOs. Second, the
growing awareness that national governments alone were not solving human
security problems occurred at the same time democracy itself was spreading
across the world ... And third, the explosive growth and advance in Internet
technology has enabled individuals and civil society groups to co-ordinate
their agendas and actions across long distances and without censorship.
- "Power Shift"
- The fluidity of civil society is on of its
- states ... find NGO prodding and exposure of
human rights violations annoying
- states severely limit the access of NGOs
- it is now physically impossible to accommodate
all NGOs requesting participation in UN meetings
- government delegates (whose professional
lifestyle immerses them in a sort of cocoon)
- NGO Forum
- civil society can become the "new
- annual event into a permanent organization,
perhaps even established through a charter amendment
- Will the day ever come when a "People's
Assembly" of the UN is directly elected by peoples around the world?
- civil society challenges the system itself
- self-interested capitalism imposes its rule and
hegemony over the most vulnerable nations and peoples
- World Economic Forum, an elite meeting of world
economic and political leaders held each year in Davos ... WEF has played both
a symbolic and a real leadership role in shaping the global economy
- activists in the global justice movement began
to challenge the notion that there is no alternative to corporate-led
- The World Social Forum was born in January 2001,
and to date three world gatherings of activists have been held in ... Porto
Alegre (Brazil) ... The first gathering drew 20,000 participants; the second,
about 50,000; and the third, in 2003, well over 100,000 from 126 countries
- The theme of the gatherings has been
"Another World Is Possible"
- WSF operates in a decentralized fashion without
any locus of power
- Forum participants say their experience in such
a joyful, robust setting offers the hope that overcoming violence, wars,
subjugation, hate, and fear in the world is more than an idealistic dream
- (Noam) Chomsky ... rejected the idea that the
"masters of the universe" ... could control the world agenda.
(Arundhati) Roy, ... said "Another world is not only possible, she is on
her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." The new
President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, told the cheering crowd, "I will tell
the people at Davos that the world does not need war, the world needs peace
- These non-state actors and social activists
transcend national boundaries and consider themselves global citizens
foremost. They consider the nation state to be outmoded or
insufficiently responsive to the transcending problems of globalization.
Though the nation state still has immense power - it runs wars - its
decision-making processes are increasingly being challenged by the emerging
global civil society.
- Civil society relies on "soft power",
rather than hard, and it ebbs and flows
- no longer can governments operate in elitist
ways, making their decisions as if the masses were too unsophisticated to
understand the nuances of policies
- it is civil society, no governments, that is
leading the way to a more human world
- Two Tracks: One Message ... a choice between the
two is not necessary
- The clamour and pressure from without increases
the opportunity of those within to be heard. Both the UN and Porto
Alegre routes are needed
- without a doubt, radical change in international
politics is essential to reverse the present trend lines of the war culture.
- The poor of the world and those being killed in
the endless parade of wars need someone to speak up on their behalf.
- The summation of all this work - from within and
from without - puts pressure on government systems to change.
- Clearly a social revolution is occurring.
- Whether this new phenomenon can become a new
superpower in the world, as is sometimes contended, remains to be seen.
What is certain is that a new critical assessment of governments is seeping
through the populace.
- The mistrust of governments today is palpable.
Rising civil society movements are challenging the political elitism that has
caused so much discord and suffering. This free-wheeling, centerless
spurt of social activism, fed by instant worldwide electronic communication,
provides hope for change. Governments may seem at times impervious to
change, but it is unlikely that even the most recalcitrant ones could resist
much longer if civil society ever became unified and relentless in its demands
for a more humane world.
Conclusion: When "We the
Peoples" Demand Peace
- Through many parts of the world, the grandest
architectural achievements ... testify to the ingenuity, skill, and toil of
generations of dedicated people.
- So, too, building a culture of peace requires
daily dedication to fulfill the vision. We must have the patience
of those who laboured on the great edifices, content just to participate
without expecting to see the end product.
- the time required to educate and transform
sufficient numbers of individuals so that they embrace the culture of peace
conflicts with the necessity of getting the job done now
- we are dealing with a finite window of
opportunity to resolve world issues. How then do we reconcile the fact
that human beings cannot be reprogrammed instantly with the new urgencies of
the culture of peace?
- three fundamental ways that can move society
from a culture of war to a culture of peace: we must understand, participate,
- attitudinal change
- the public as a whole ... share in visionary
- "Smart mobs" are the twenty-first
century vehicle for people power
- Many, particularly the young, are bypassing the
traditional political processes precisely because they are so antiquated and
incapable of solving contemporary security problems. The more direct
actions of civic involvement - to express one's opinion and link with
like-minded individuals across the globe - are more appealing. Today,
democracy does not equal political involvement. That is a huge change in
thinking that I myself have witnessed during 30 years in public life.
Democracy is thriving as never before.
- the "hierarchy" of political direction
is coming to an end, if it is not already finished
- leaders, no matter how powerful, can no longer
just commit entire societies to war. The power of people, who now
understand the measures available to resolve conflicts in a fair and just
manner without violence, has asserted itself.
- the mainline media, which, like the political
structure, is still locked in a corporate mentality that regards the public as
nothing more than avaricious, mentally deficient consumers
- the Internet is the centrepiece of the
- the message is that we no longer need the
mainline media to inform us about what is going on in the world
- this does not mean that advocates of the culture
of peace should ignore the mainline media. Quite the reverse.
- The time has come to resist the greatest social
injustice - the institution of war. For war will kill us all. The
only way humanity can survive is by overcoming the culture of war.
- The UN gives us the base of international law to
resolve human conflict.
- We have not yet reached sufficient maturity of
civilization to enforce the right to peace. Governments, at least some
of them, are still too strong and are able to overcome the wishes of those who
have turned against war. But this situation will not prevail forever.
It will give way to those who demand the right to peace.
- That is why developing the elements of a culture
of peace - education, sustainable development, respect for all human rights,
equality between men and women, democratic participation, understanding and
tolerance, free flow of information, and human security for all - is so
- Future generations, when they have tasted the
fruit of a culture of peace, will recognize almost intuitively that peace is
their right. They will demand it. Our role, as the twenty-first
century begins, is to nourish the seeds of peace so that the blossom appears.
- The immediate goal is for every
generation to ensure that there will be a following generation. The
advance of civilization thus far tells me that humanity is not fated for
oblivion; indeed, the new interconnected human community is a source of
strength to continue building the culture of peace. I must feel this
strength so that I can talk and write, in realistic terms, of achieving the
human right to peace. I do feel the strength. The strength of this
moment gives me hope for the future, and hope is itself a powerful motivation
for action. This hope for a decent future for humanity must awaken a
universal sense of responsibility. When "we the peoples" seize
this responsibility, the human right to peace will be assured.
Appendix: The Human Right to Peace -
Declaration by Federico Mayor, Former Director-General of UNESCO, January 1997
- ministries of peace
- it is time for action
- we must react, each of us to the best of our
- what is needed, then, is to reduce the
investment in arms and destruction in order to increase investment in the
construction of peace
- the only real education is education by example
... and love
- this change ... cannot be achieved without our
- At all United Nations conferences ... there has
been a consensus that education is the key to urgently needed change in the
direction pursued by today's world
- to invest in education is not only to respect a
fundamental right but also to build peace and progress for the world's peoples
- other 'rights' have been added since 1948 ... to
them should be added the right which underlies them all: the right to peace -
the right to live in peace! the right to our own 'personal sovereignty',
to respect for life and dignity.
About the Author:
Douglas Roche was elected to the Parliament of
Canada four times, serving from 1972 to 1984 and specializing in the subjects
of development and disarmament. He holds six honourary doctorates.
Canada's ambassador for disarmament from 1984 to 1989, he was elected Chairman
of the United Nations Disarmament Committee, the main UN body dealing with
political and security issues, at the 43rd General Assembly in 1988. He
was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1998. He is an Officer of the
Order of Canada, Chairman of Canadian Pugwash and Chairman of the Middle
Powers Initiative, a network of eight international non-governmental
organizations specializing in nuclear disarmament. In 1995, he received
the United Nations Association's Medal of Honour and the Papal Medal for his
service on disarmament and security matters. In 2000, he received the
Pomerance Award for work at the United Nations on nuclear disarmament.
Roche is the author of sixteen books, including Bread Not Bombs: A Political
Agenda for Social Justice (University of Alberta Press, 1999).