Toward the Coexistance of Nations and States, remarks by Rudolph C. Ryser before the Moscow Conference on Indigenous Peoples' Rights Sept. 13-18, 1993
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DOCUMENT: MOSCOW93.TXT


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                  Center For World Indigenous Studies
                             P.O. Box 2574
                    Olympia, Washington  98507-2574
                                U.S.A.
              Telephone: 206/705-2079  Fax: 206/956-1087


                          Remarks Before the
            Moscow Conference on Indigenous Peoples' Rights
          September 13 - 18, 1993 Moscow, Russian Federation


           T O W A R D   T H E   C O E X I S T E N C E   O F 

                  N A T I O N S   A N D   S T A T E S


                      Rudolph C. Ryser, Chairman
                  Center for World Indigenous Studies
                          Copyright 1993 CWIS

        A new era is emerging where nations and states must seek early 
accommodation and cooperation to avoid a future of conflict that would 
plunge nations and states into a period of darkness.  It is no 
accident that after the collapse of several of the worlds' more 
prominent states long persistent bedrock nations re-emerge to claim 
their responsibility as full members of the international community. 

        The lessons we must collectively learn from the experience of 
political events over the last three years include these:  [1] The 
State system is not perfect, it is an experiment of human problem-
solving that does not always lend itself well to solving problems for 
all of humanity.  [2] Nations are natural human organisms which 
persist and must have an acknowledged place as active participants in 
international intercourse coexisting with states.  [3] Where States 
exist and serve the needs of human society they should be nurtured and 
celebrated, but where States fail to serve the needs of human society, 
they should be allowed to disassemble in a planned process which 
permits the nations within to systematically reassume their governing 
responsibilities.  [4] If a State is no longer viable politically and 
economically and it does not have distinct nations within, its 
structure should be replaced  temporarily with international 
supervision followed by the formation of an internationally recognized 
variant of human organizational structures deemed appropriate to the 
extant human cultures and geography of an area such as a trust 
territory, freely associated state, commonwealth, or other 
configuration established for a protected population; such a non-self-
governing status must have the potential of being changed to a self-
governing status in the future. Finally, [5] Nations which do not wish 
to remain within an existing state, must have the logical option of 
changing their political status through peaceful negotiations. 

        As of the present date, there are 192 States that comprise the 
members of the world's state system of governments.  Of these states, 
183 are members of the United Nations, fewer are members of the 
International Court of Justice, the World Bank, the International 
Monetary Fund, and the International Labour Organization.  The "State" 
is a rational organizational construct created to solve specific 
social, economic and political problems, and it is made legitimate by 
virtue of recognition extended to it by other established states. All 
established States are said to be sovereign political personalities 
having the recognized capacity to protect their own borders, carry out 
political intercourse with other states and perform those necessary 
activities (economic, social and political in character) sufficient to 
maintain the loyalty of an established number of human beings.  Not 
all of these States can be accurately described as politically and 
economically viable.  Indeed, no fewer than thirty States are in a 
condition of perpetual disarray, collapse, or they are essentially 
defunct political and legal organisms.  International institutions and 
neighboring states which deem the continuity of even defunct states as 
essential to their own stability are obliged to provide support 
politically, militarily and financially.  Instead of strengthening the 
state system, this process tends to further weaken an increasingly 
fractured system. 

        More to the point of my dissertation, however, is that the 
economic and sometimes political instability of some states and the 
efforts to prop up crumbling states is bringing other states into 
direct conflict with nations inside these states.  United Nations 
joint forces are at this moment militarily fighting nations inside 
several collapsed states.  So committed are statists to the continuity 
of the State System that they insist that a failed state must continue 
even though there is no will or capacity to ensure its normal 
operation.   The nations which often make the soul of a state become 
the objects of derision and attack.  States denounce and fear 
"nationalism," or the commitment one has to the persistence of a 
nation.  Nationalism is regarded as a primitive; emotionalism that 
undermines efforts to achieve "higher forms of human civilization."   
In reality, properly respected, the nation stands as the foundation of 
human organization essential for human survival.  Without the nation, 
the State could have never come into existence,  The State could not 
long survive without national forbearance -- and, so, recent events 
would seem to bear this view out. 

        There are between six thousand and nine thousand bedrock 
nations in the world. They are culturally diverse and that diversity 
reflects the ecological diversity of the Earth.  Human nations, 
located in their particular places demonstrate the success of natural 
adaptation and human creative energy.  They persist because nations 
satisfy human spiritual, social, economic, and political (cultural) 
needs.  Nations are evolved human organisms, self-identified, 
including members who share a common culture, heritage, language and 
geographic place.  Their existence is not dependent on size, and their 
identity is essentially determined by their culture.  The culture of 
each nation is determined by the relationship between the people and 
the land.  A nation is large enough to ensure the needs of its 
constituents, but small enough to ensure consistency with human scale. 

        The nation, the human organism from which all humans 
originate, is the parent of the state.  It is from the heart of 
nations that the concept of the state arose.  The rational state is 
another of the many experiments attempted to constructively advance 
the human condition.  As the parent from which the state springs, each 
nation is obligated to ensure that the state fulfills its purposes.  
But, when the experiment fails, there is no obligation to force the 
continued existence of a state.  The nation, is more than adequate to 
serve as an independent international personality on its own.  It is 
quite realistic that the world's political landscape contain both 
nations and states as independent political entities. 

        While states will continue to perform their function and 
nations will continue to function within the framework of individual 
states, some states cannot continue to exist.  Many nations do not 
chose to become states or remain within state structures.  Given these 
realistic conditions, we must seek to ensure the peaceful means for a 
world in which both states and nations coexist.  We must establish new 
international institutions, new international tools for providing the 
transition from a world of states to a world of nations and states.  
We must provide the means for nations to resolve long-standing 
disputes between them -- most will be concerned with  unresolved land 
and natural resource questions.  We must also provide the means for 
nations and states to resolve disputes between them after the collapse 
of a state.  Finally, we must create new transitional structures 
between nations, and nations and states to replace crumbling state 
structures to minimize violent conflicts and maximize systematic 
peaceful change. 

        There is room for new international institutions along side 
the United Nations as clearly indicated by the existence of the 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe which came into being 
as a result of the Helsinki Final Act.  New institutions which permit 
the direct, coequal participation of nations and states are now 
essential for the construction of a new international political order.  
The breakup of states like Yugoslavia need not result in the terror 
that is now being experienced in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.  
Sustained, long-term conflicts like the war between the Burmese state 
and the Karen, Kachin and Shan nations are remnants of a failed 
British colonial policy and should be brought to a swift end by 
internationally sanctioned peace negotiations.  The war between the 
Jumma Peoples and the government of Bangladesh should be ended through 
peaceful negotiations, mediated and sanctioned internationally.  The 
expansion of states into national territories like the Peoples 
Republic of China's occupation of Tibet must be halted and brought to 
a negotiation table for peaceful disengagement.  The war in Guatemala 
continues and the wars between the Indonesian government, the peoples 
of West Papua, East Timor and South Molucca continue unabated -- all 
demanding internationally sanctioned intervention. 

        These are not civil wars, but conflicts between states and 
nations.  They are conflicts which result from the failure of the 
state to perform its function.  They are conflicts resulting from a 
failure of states to ensure the full sharing of political power by all 
nations within the framework of the state.  The Geneva Conventions of 
1949 provide the initial context within which new international 
institutions and mechanisms can be fashioned to directly address the 
conflicts between states and nations and between nations after the 
collapse of a state.  Protocols I and II of the Geneva Conventions 
directly address conflicts between states and between nations and 
states.  The Moscow Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights can be the 
spark that provides for nations and states to mutually established new 
international mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolution based in 
part on the Geneva Conventions and particularly on Protocols I and II. 

        The new political era of nations and states into which we are 
now passing demands that the world's nations resume their duty as 
active participants in the formulation of international rules of 
conduct.  What we now call indigenous nations, must become co-equal 
partners with states as international political personalities.  They 
must assume their responsibilities as mature political personalities 
with a full commitment to the restoration of mutual coexistence 
between nations and states.  Nations must fully commit themselves to 
the advancement of human rights and the democratization of 
international relations.  Nations must also adopt existing 
international instruments for the promotion of peaceful relations 
between peoples, and they must work to establish new international 
instruments for the establishment of peaceful relations between 
nations and between nations and states. 

        States governments are obliged to recognize that they do 
sometimes fail to adequately serve the peoples for which they were 
established.  States governments must embrace the changing world which 
includes many kinds of political personalities -- not just states.  
The state system is useful for some purposes, but not all peoples in 
the world must live within a state structure.  Where there are no 
mechanisms for nation and state cooperation, states must reach out to 
the nation and seek accommodation.  States governments must rework 
their foreign policies to recognize that nations are a part of the 
international fabric -- an essential element of the international 
arena.  They must learn the courage to seek constructive new relations 
with nations to maximize cooperation and mutual benefit. 

        In a new age unfolding we are confronted by our greatest hopes 
and wishes.  We hope for accommodation in Europe and accommodation 
becomes the practical, daily demand.  We hope for peaceful settlements 
in the Middle East, and the State of Israel and the Palestinian nation 
engage in fourteen fateful days of negotiations for peaceful 
accommodation.  In North America, the South Pacific Ocean and in 
Africa, new measures of courage are being realized as representatives 
of nations and representatives of states have begun to move toward 
peaceful accommodation, coexistence and cooperation.  But, as these 
hopes are now being realized, we are also discovering the need for new 
courage and new creativity in diplomatic relations.  Things are not as 
"perfectly orderly" as we would want.  The tendency is to move swiftly 
to an "authoritarian order" instead of a condition of mutual equality 
and cooperation.  Diversity is sloppy and uncomfortable at times, but 
the new political era of nations and states is necessarily a mirror of 
the cultural diversity of humanity.  We are looking at reality when we 
see many thousands of nations and scores of states.  We are seeing the 
success of human beings in their many nations.  We are seeing the 
experiments of the human spirit when we see the scores of states.  
Reality demands that we stretch our minds to find ways to creatively 
accommodate the many differences we see among human beings.  Reality 
demands that we accept the challenge of human success. 

        I propose that the world's states governments join with the 
governments of the world's nations to form a temporary Congress of 
Nations and States to develop new international protocols which 
provide for new approaches to dispute resolution between nations, and 
nations and states.  I propose that the Moscow Conference serve as the 
spring board for the organization of a world congress to permit 
nations and states to instruct each other on the appropriate 
structures for peacefully resolving old and new conflicts between 
nations within and outside existing states.  New structures, perhaps 
based in the Geneva Protocols I and II, for resolving existing 
conflicts between nations and nations and states should also be 
developed.  The Congress of Nations and States should build on the 
constructive discussions among many nations and many states that have 
been continuing at non-government conferences and within the United 
Nations under the direction of the Economic and Social Council for the 
last twenty years. 

        The opportunity exists now like never before in history for 
nations to fulfill their obligations as mature members of the 
international community to work toward a peaceful world.  States, the 
children of nations, must turn now to realistically work with nations 
to build a democratized international community which ensures broad 
support by all of the peoples of the world. 

        This is not simple idealism.  The means exist for 
representatives of nations and states to begin the process of 
constructively re-ordering the world.  A new political order is before 
us.  We need now only to understand ourselves and our purpose to 
establish a peaceful and creative political climate for human 
development.  We must put aside our fears and exercise maturity and 
courage to take the next step in the new era of nations and states.  A 
Congress of Nations and States is that next logical step. 

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