4th Assembly of the People's UN Builds a Culture of Peace
|The 4th Assembly of the People's UN recently took place in Perugia, Italy. This extraordinary Assembly, organised by the Italian Peace Round Table and the National Federation of Local Municipalities for Peace, heard testimony from individuals from 100 different countries on the reality of war for the poor of the world and the reality of daily life in countries subjected to what was described as the economic terrorism of corporate globalisation.
The message was clear: peace is not possible without freedom and justice. `Food, Water and Justice for All,' said the banners as participants joined a record 300,000 people for Italy's annual March for Peace along a 24 kilometre route from Perugia to Assisi, the home of St. Francis. At one point the stream of people stretched back for over six miles.
"This is the march of the new global movement", said Flavio Lotti, the man whose vision created the People's Assembly. "We are the people who want a different globalisation, a globalisation of human rights, democracy and solidarity.
"The People's UN is a global civil society movement, a movement of movements, with real power to change the world. Our strength does not come from a revolutionary strategy, it comes from the things that we do every day, fighting poverty, reducing world disorder and trying to eradicate war from the world. We are fighting against the culture of war, against military power, the arms race and the trafficking of arms. We have to end terrorism, but in order to do this, we need to use legal means and the United Nations, not revenge and war.
"The idea is to start working for a permanent global civil society forum so we can move on from a period when we just come together at different conferences, meetings and demonstrations. We want to establish a standing Forum, a meeting place for all the people who want to create some common involvement of the people. In the meantime, the dream is that we will have meetings like the UN People's Assembly and the March for Peace at the same time in all the countries of the world. Our goal is to organise civil society in all countries on the theme of "We Want to Change the World."
The final statement of the Assembly calls for the United Nations to be strengthened and made more democratic with a Parliamentary Assembly and a permanent forum of global civil society. It calls for a system of common security centred on the United Nations with a UN force for international policing and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which the Americans are still boycotting. And it calls on governments and parliaments to stop the wars in progress and place the UN in the position of exercising its proper functions and powers in implementing its resolutions on the rights of peoples and its role in preventing and ending conflicts.
The Assembly shows that an alternative does exist, is being made possible by the work of millions of people who reject indifference, of thousands of organisations and groups of civil society who work for change all over the world. The next People's Assembly will take place in 2003. In the meantime, the development of global civil society continues at the second World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, in Brazil, in February 2002 where, they say, `Another World is Being Built'!
The complete final statement is available on www.tavoladellapace.it For further information contact: Tavola della Pace, Via della Viola 1, 06122 Perugia, Italy. Tel: ++39 075 5736890
|"It is important to combine peace education with political commitment. We need to link all the different segments of civil society which are working to change the world.
"We cannot limit ourselves to asking governments what they will do. We must take practical steps ourselves to change things. We cannot expect very much from our governments, but we must expect much from ourselves.
"Our responsibility is to promote an Assembly of the United Nations of the People. From now on the Assembly of the Peoples will become an international project, not just an Italian project. We would like all international networks working in the fields of peace development, democracy, environment and human rights to join.
Peace as proclaimed in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a fundamental right of every person and people. Without peace there cannot be development or democracy. Without justice there cannot be peace which means respect and promotion of human and social rights, a balanced relationship with nature and justice and democracy for all people.
|Extent of Action:||Local|
|Source:||Positive News Special Edition, Winter 2001, p.1|
|For further information: Tavola della Pace, Via della Viola 1, 06122 Perugia, Italy. Tel: ++39 075 5736890
Fax: ++39 075 5721234
www.tavoladellapace.it (The complete final statement of the meeting)
|Prepared By:||sl 1/02|