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close this bookWe the Peoples... Millennium Forum - Declaration and Agenda for Action (UN, 2000, 25 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOUR VISION
View the documentTHE CHALLENGES
View the documentA. ERADICATION OF POVERTY: INCLUDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DEBT CANCELLATION
View the documentB. PEACE, SECURITY, AND DISARMAMENT
View the documentC. FACING THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBALIZATION: EQUITY, JUSTICE AND DIVERSITY
View the documentD. HUMAN RIGHTS
View the documentE. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
View the documentF. STRENGTHENING AND DEMOCRATIZING THE UNITED NATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

B. PEACE, SECURITY, AND DISARMAMENT

The UN and its member states have failed to fulfill their primary responsibility of maintaining peace and preserving human life. Organized armed violence is depriving millions of people all over the world - 95% of them civilians - of their lives, and many millions more of their right to peace.

The victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki A-bombs and of the century’s other wars have vehemently warned us that the errors of the 20th century must not be repeated in the 21st. However, the killing is continuing. Six million people have died in over 50 wars in the last decade. There have been some successes, but many of these conflicts have lasted for decades with millions of dead. The cycle of violence begins with cultures that glorify violence and warrior virtues, and may be manifest in domestic violence.

The Forum urges the United Nations: To authorize, through the General Assembly, the establishment of an international, non-violent, inclusive, standing Peace Force of volunteer women and men to deploy to conflict areas to provide early warning, facilitate conflict resolution, protect human rights, and prevent death and destruction.

Despite over fifty years of effort, no decisive progress has yet been made in eliminating nuclear weapons, still capable of destroying all life on this planet, and the circle of their possessors is expanding. For mainly commercial reasons, there is no adequate verification for treaties prohibiting biological weapons, while knowledge of how to produce them spreads. Rape continues to be used as a weapon of war. Space has been militarized, and space weapons are being actively developed. For the moment, the problem is centered in a small group of eight states that are claiming for themselves the right to possess weapons that could destroy all of humankind.

Disarmament alone is not the way to peace; it must be accompanied by genuine human security. It is imperative that NGOs be included in the dialogue for peace. The world community - civil society, including younger and older people, and governments - has the resources and knowledge to move from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.

The time has come to carry out the primary mission set forth in the United Nations Charter, “to preserve future generations from the scourge of war,” and to apply the principle of non-use of force, which is fundamental to the UN Charter. Working together, both civil society and governments can make armed conflict increasingly rare and can move, step by step, to the abolition of war.

The Forum urges;

The United Nations

1. To carry out the objective of moving toward the abolition of war by practical means, the UN Secretariat and interested governments, or a separate group of governments, should develop a draft proposal for global disarmament to be discussed in a fourth Special Session of the General Assembly for Disarmament. This proposal would be aimed specifically at reducing the level of armed violence throughout the world through continuing improved conflict prevention, peace keeping, conventional disarmament, and nuclear weapons abolition, in a program designed to be promoted by a broad coalition of civil society organizations, particularly youth organizations, as well as by interested governments.

2. To establish a corps of at least 50 professionally trained mediators for more effective conflict prevention, to assist in conflict warning, mediation, and conflict resolution.

3. To authorize, through the General Assembly, the establishment of an international, non-violent, inclusive, standing Peace Force of volunteer women and men to deploy to conflict areas to provide early warning, facilitate conflict resolution, protect human rights, and prevent death and destruction.

The Forum urges Civil Society: To maintain the impartiality and independence of all NGOs working for peace, security, disarmament and humanitarian issues from political, military and economic powers and institutions. At the same time NGOs should organically link with popular movements promoting equity, justice, and diversity.

4. To draw on legal systems for conflict prevention and resolution, such as those of indigenous peoples which have conflict resolution mechanisms of their own.

5. To ensure that no “non-discriminatory” weapons, such as landmines and sub-munitions, are used by any military force, in particular by any force or coalition acting under a UN mandate.

6. To assist the Security Council on conflict prevention in a more flexible way, the General Assembly should establish an open-ended Conflict Prevention Committee to serve a rapid action conflict prevention and early warning function. It should give the world public, civil society, the UN, and national governments balanced, timely information on potential conflicts and promote possible solutions.

7. To respect national sovereignty and the prohibition of the use of force, which are fundamental in the UN Charter. This principle must not be under-mined. In the solution of conflicts, all peaceful methods in accordance with Chapter 6 of the UN Charter must be tried before measures of force are undertaken in accordance with Chapter 7. The UN General Assembly should set up a broad commission to analyze standards for forceful action in cases where crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are committed.

8. To expand the UN Arms register in order to show production and sale of small arms and light weapons. It should include specific names of their producers and traders.

9. To reopen the Peace Education Unit in the Department of Political Affairs (UN-DPA) with provisions for continuous liaison with NGOs.

10. To establish a humanitarian commission composed of independent experts to work with the Security Council and Secretary General and other UN agencies. The mandate of this commission would be to assess humanitarian needs and recommend protective measures for civilian populations in times of armed conflicts.

11. To establish ready police and peacekeeping forces. Sensitivity and respect for civilians, especially women and children, should be included in the training of all peacekeepers.

12. To establish an annual youth peace prize for signal accomplishments in this field

Governments

1. To promptly carry out their obligations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons and to ban them. For this purpose, governments should, by the beginning of the year 2001, convene the conference to eliminate nuclear dangers, as proposed by Secretary-General Annan. Governments should immediately undertake to close laboratories that research and develop new nuclear weapons, to de-alert nuclear weapons, and to withdraw nuclear weapons from foreign states.

2. Together with nearly all governments that participated in the recent Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference. Forum participants consider that unilateral deployment of nationwide missile defense by any country could have dangerously destabilizing effects and create pressures to permanently retain high levels of nuclear weapons or even to increase existing levels. The deployment of theater missile defenses in Asia or other regions could have serious regional destabilizing effects. Such plans should be relinquished in favor of a worldwide missile launch warning system and a conference to review methods of ending production of long-range surface-to-surface missiles and long-range bombers.

The present globalization process is not inevitable; it is the result of decisions taken by human beings, it can and must be redirected to become a democratic process in which the people are at the center as participants and beneficiaries.... Before us is an emerging new consciousness worldwide that affirms shared values of peace, equity, social justice, democracy, and human rights.

3. To expand the network of nuclear free zones until they cover all areas other than territory of weapons states and to complement that network by maritime measures that close ports to naval vessels unless they certify that they are not carrying nuclear weapons. Civil society should energetically promote all these measures to control nuclear weapons.

4. To initiate a worldwide freeze on armed forces and a 25% cut in production and export of major weapons and small arms, and, to this end, to adopt an international Code of Conduct on arms exports, as the beginning of worldwide build-down of conventional forces.

5. To implement the International Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention of 1997, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, to ban antipersonnel landmines.

6. To establish a commission at the UN to devise ways of stopping the technological development of new and more advanced weapons that create new imbalances in global power relationships. The Conference on Disarmament should also establish a working group on this subject.

7. To establish peace education, including coping with domestic conflict, covering all ages from young children to older adults, at all levels from pre-school through university and non-formal community education. Education for peace and conflict avoidance is essential for moving toward sustainable peace. Implementation of this obligation of each national government should be assured by an appropriate treaty.

8. To increase their efforts to promote and to comply with international humanitarian laws, limiting the methods and means of war and protecting non-combatants, civilian populations and humanitarian personnel.

9. The international community - civil society, governments and the UN - has a responsibility to stop promptly any genocide, war crimes, or any massive violations of human rights. All those involved should seek to avoid any confusion between humanitarian help and military intervention.

10. To immediately adopt measures to implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so that children up to the age of 18 will be prohibited from participation in armed conflict.

Civil Society

1. To give special attention and support to those disabled and injured by violent conflict, to children, and the elderly, and to the re-integration into society of former combatants. Protection of war-affected children in conflict zones must become a world-wide campaign.

2. To maintain the impartiality and independence of all NGOs working for peace, security, disarmament and humanitarian issues from political, military and economic powers and institutions. At the same time NGOs should organically link with popular movements promoting equity, justice, and diversity (such as the labor movement, women’s movements, and civil rights movements).

3. To protect the humanitarian principles that are linked with human rights and reject all attempts to transform the field of humanitarian assistance into a new market open to private companies.

The Forum urges the United Nations: To recognize and enshrine legislatively the right of self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and to acknowledge their sovereign right to their languages, knowledge, educational systems, living spaces, intellectual property and biological security.