Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony

Inter Press Service

Amidst growing political tensions in the Islamic world over a video caricature of the Prophet Muhammad originating in the United States, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is making an “urgent “plea for political harmony worldwide.

Decrying the rising toll of civilian deaths in Syria, the killings of U.S. diplomats in Libya, the desecration of sacred religious sites in Mali and the “disgusting film” on Islam, he said, “When we look at the suffering in our world, we know how urgently we need a culture of peace.”

Addressing delegates at a High Level Forum Friday, Ban singled out skyrocketing military expenditures worldwide as one of the primary roadblocks to the creation of a culture of peace.

“The world spends almost twice as much on weapons in one day than the United Nations spends for our global mission of peace, human rights and development in one year,” Ban said.

Last year’s military spending was estimated at a staggering 1.7 trillion dollars, mostly on the manufacture and purchase of weapons worldwide.

“That is an enormous cost to people who go to bed hungry … children who die because they lack clean water… farmers who cannot till land because it is polluted by mines,” he said.

“Economists call this an ‘opportunity cost’. I call it a moral outrage. I have made disarmament a key priority in the U.N.’s five-year action agenda,” he said.

Ban said he has a simple, one-word answer: education. “Through education, we teach children not to hate. Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion. And through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace,” he declared.

Back in September 1999, the U.N.’s highest policy-making body, the General Assembly, adopted a consensus resolution on a U.N. Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace.

Through this landmark resolution, the General Assembly laid down humanity’s charter for the approaching millennium.

Addressing the High-Level Forum, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said the culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes and ways of life, based on the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, and respect for diversity, as well as on dialogue and understanding.

“I believe spreading the culture of peace is most critical to our society today. If we are to come out of the shadows of conflict and make a new beginning, all members of society must be inspired by the culture of peace,” he said.

He said he was pleased to observe that the culture of peace is receiving increasing global attention.

Through the efforts of the United Nations, civil society, regional organisations and peace-loving states, a global movement for the culture of peace is emerging, he added. “I believe the universal character of its applicability and relevance for the international community emerges very clearly through four special dimensions of the Declaration and Programme of Action.”

If the culture of peace is to take deeper root, he said, “We will need to reach out more effectively to the younger minds as they grow up. We must place crucial focus on peace education.”

To effectively meet the complex challenges of our time, the young of today deserve a radically different education – one that does not glorify war but educates for peace, he added.

“We need an education that focuses on peace, non-violence and global understanding,” he declared.

Federico Mayor, president of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and a former director-general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), cited the opening lines of the U.N. charter which gave pride of place to the concept of “We the peoples.”

But “the bloody history of male absolute domination,” along with moves by powerful countries to weaken the United Nations with their vetoes, had undercut the post-war dream of peaceful co-existence, Mayor said.

“Indeed, security had trumped all and a culture of conciliation and alliance had been disregarded in favour of a culture of violence and war,” he said.

“We the peoples urgently need to (remake) the United Nations into a truly democratic multilateral system,” he said, pointing out that just as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had provided guidance more than 65 years ago, it was now time to craft a Universal Declaration of Democracy to chart the world body’s future.

“It’s here, in this hall, that this historical shift can take place — from force to words and from weapons to dialogue — towards a United Nations system with the moral authority and the security forces needed to redress so many urgent situations,” he added.

Further, the U.N. should be rebuilt without veto power resting with a few powerful nations, but with more fairly weighted voting procedures through which “the peoples” of the Charter — the General Assembly — were equitably represented.

He also called for the establishment of a “security council” on the environment, and another dealing with economic issues.

“We are in the only international institution that could start this new beginning, the way towards a world of equal human dignity for all,” he said.

The High Level Forum on Culture of Peace was organised by the Office of the President of the 66th U.N. General Assembly in cooperation with the Foundation Culture of Peace, Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace (GMCoP).

It was supported by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Benin, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and South Africa.

There were also two panel discussions: “The Culture of Peace at the core of humanity’s agenda: New partnerships, new developments”.

The second panel was on: “Strengthening the global movement, advancing the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Culture of Peace: the way forward”.

Thalif Deen is a contributor to Inter Press Service.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Donald Trump’s second attorney general, William Barr is the focus of a growing controversy over the Robert Mueller report because his decision to unilaterally declare that the the president had not obstructed justice during the Mueller investigation.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary group Blackwater, continues to sell security services around the world as controversies over his work—including in China and the Middle East, and his alleged involvement in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—grow.


Gina Haspel is the first woman to hold the position of director of the CIA, winning her confirmation despite her history of involvement in torture during the Iraq War.


Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) is a pressure group founded in early 2019 that serves as a watchdog and enforcer of Israel’s reputation in the Democratic Party.


Richard Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany for the Donald Trump administration, known for his brusque and confrontational style.


Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

President Trump’s announcement that he would recognise Israeli sovereignty over the western part of the Golan Heights destroys the negotiating basis for any future peace between Israel and Syria. It also lays the groundwork for a return to a world without territorial integrity for smaller, weaker countries.


The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


While Michael Cohen mesmerized the House of Representatives and President Trump resumed his love affair with North Korea’s Kim Jong, one of the most dangerous state-to-state confrontations, centering in Kashmir, began to spiral out of control.


The Trump administration’s irresponsible withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement undermined Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and emboldened hardliners who accused him of having been deceived by Washington while negotiating the agreement. However, the Iranian government could use the shock of Zarif’s resignation to push back against hardliners and take charge of both the domestic and foreign affairs of the country while Iran’s foreign opponents should consider the risks of destabilizing the government under the current critical situation.


Europe can play an important role in rebuilding confidence in the non-proliferation regime in the wake of the demise of the INF treaty, including by making it clear to the Trump administration that it wants the United States to refrain from deploying INF-banned missiles in Europe and to consider a NATO-Russian joint declaration on non-first deployment.


RightWeb
share