Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits: Charter for a World Without Violence

CHARTER FOR A WORLD WITHOUT VIOLENCE
Violence is a preventable disease.

No state or individual can be secure in an insecure world. The
values of nonviolence in intention, thought, and practice have
grown from an option to a necessity. These values are expressed in
their application between states, groups and individuals.

We are convinced that adherence to the values of nonviolence will
usher in a more peaceful, civilized world order in which more
effective and fair governance, respectful of human dignity and the
sanctity of life itself, may become a reality.

Our cultures, our histories, and our individual lives are
interconnected and our actions are interdependent. Especially today
as never before, we believe, a truth lies before us: our destiny is
a common destiny. That destiny will be defined by our intentions,
decisions and actions today.

We are further convinced that creating a culture of peace and
nonviolence, while a difficult and long process, is both necessary
and noble. Affirmation of the values contained in this Charter is a
vital step to ensuring the survival and development of humanity and
the achievement of a world without violence.

We, Nobel Peace Laureates and Laureate Organizations,

Reaffirming our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights;

Moved by concern for the need to end the spread of violence at all
levels of society and especially the threats posed on a global
scale that jeopardize the very existence of humankind;

Reaffirming that freedom of thought and expression is at the root
of democracy and creativity;

Recognizing that violence manifests in many ways, such as armed
conflict, military occupation, poverty, economic exploitation,
environmental destruction, corruption and prejudice based on race,
religion, gender, or sexual orientation;

Realizing that the glorification of violence as expressed through
commercial entertainment can contribute to the acceptance of
violence as a normal and acceptable condition;

In the knowledge that those most harmed by violence are the weakest
and vulnerable;

Remembering that peace is not only the absence of violence but that
it is the presence of justice and the well-being of people;

Realizing that the failure of States to sufficiently accommodate
ethnic, cultural and religious diversity is at the root of much of
the violence in the world;

Recognizing the urgent need to develop an alternative approach to
collective security based on a system in which no country, or group
of countries, relies on nuclear weapons for its security;

Being aware that the world is in need of effective global
mechanisms and approaches for nonviolent conflict prevention and
resolution, and that they are most successful when applied at the
earliest possible moment;

Affirming that persons invested with power carry the greatest
responsibility to end violence where it is occurring and to prevent
violence whenever possible;

Asserting that the values of nonviolence must triumph at all levels
of society as well as in relations between States and peoples;

Beseech the global community to advance the following
principles:

First: In an interdependent world, the prevention and cessation of
armed conflict between and within States can require the collective
action of the international community. The security of individual
states can best be achieved by advancing global human security.
This requires strengthening the implementation capacity of the UN
system as well as regional cooperative organizations.

Second: To achieve a world without violence, States must abide by
the rule of law and honor their legal commitments at all times.

Third: It is essential to move without further delay towards the
universal and verifiable elimination of nuclear and other weapons
of mass destruction. States possessing such weapons must take
concrete steps towards disarmament, and a security system that does
not rely on nuclear deterrence. At the same time, States must
sustain their efforts to consolidate the nuclear non-proliferation
regime, by taking such measures as strengthening multilateral
verification, protecting nuclear material and advancing
disarmament.

Fourth: To help eliminate violence in society, the production and
sale of small arms and light weapons must be reduced and strictly
controlled at international, regional, state and local levels. In
addition there should be full and universal enforcement of
international disarmament agreements, such as the 1997 Mine Ban
Treaty, and support for new efforts aimed at the eradication of the
impact of victim-activated and indiscriminate weapons, such as
cluster munitions. A comprehensive and effective Arms Trade Treaty
needs to be enacted.

Fifth: Terrorism can never be justified because violence begets
violence and because no acts of terror against the civilian
population of any country can be carried out in the name of any
cause. The struggle against terrorism cannot, however, justify
violation of human rights, international humanitarian law,
civilized norms, and democracy.

Sixth: Ending domestic and family violence requires unconditional
respect for the equality, freedom, dignity, and rights of women,
men and children by all individuals, institutions of the state,
religion and civil society. Such protections must be embodied in
laws and conventions at local and international levels.

Seventh: Every individual and state shares responsibility to
prevent violence against children and youth, our common future and
most precious gift. All have a right to quality education,
effective primary health care, personal safety, social protection,
full participation in society and an enabling environment that
reinforces non-violence as a way of life. Peace education,
promoting non-violence and emphasizing the innate human quality of
compassion, must be an essential part of the curriculum of
educational institutions at all levels.

Eighth: Preventing conflicts arising from the depletion of natural
resources, in particular sources of energy and water, requires
States to affirmatively and, through creation of legal mechanisms
and standards, provide for the protection of the environment and to
encourage people to adjust their consumption on the basis of
resource availability and real human needs.

Ninth: We beseech the UN and its member states to promote
appreciation of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The
golden rule of a non-violent world: Treat others as you wish to be
treated.

Tenth: The principal political tools for bringing into being a
non-violent world are functioning democratic institutions and
dialogue based on dignity, knowledge, and compromise, conducted on
the basis of balance between the interests of the parties involved,
and, when appropriate, including concerns relating to the entirety
of humanity and the natural environment.

Eleventh: All states, institutions and individuals must support
efforts to address the inequalities in the distribution of economic
resources, and resolve gross inequities which create a fertile
ground for violence. The imbalance in living conditions inevitably
leads to lack of opportunity and, in many cases, loss of hope.

Twelfth: Civil society, including human rights defenders, peace and
environmental activists must be recognized and protected as
essential to building a nonviolent world as all governments must
serve the needs of their people, not the reverse. Conditions should
be created to enable and encourage civil society participation,
especially that of women, in political processes at the global,
regional, national and local levels.

Thirteenth: In implementing the principles of this Charter we call
upon all to work together towards a just, killing-free world in
which everyone has the right not to be killed and responsibility
not to kill others.

To address all forms of violence we encourage scientific research
in the fields of human interaction and dialogue, and we invite
participation from the academic, scientific and religious
communities to aid us in the transition to non-violent, and
non-killing societies.

Nobel Signers:

• Mairead Corrigan Maguire
• His Holiness the Dalai Lama
• Mikhail Gorbachev
• Lech Walesa
• Frederik Willem De Klerk
• Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
• Jody Williams
• Shirin Ebadi
• Mohamed ElBaradei
• John Hume
• Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
• Betty Williams
• Muhammad Yunus
• Wangari Maathai
• International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
• Red Cross
• International Atomic Energy Agency
• American Friends Service Committee
• International Peace Bureau
• Basque Governement
• Hokotehi Moriori Trust, New Zealand
• World without wars and without violence
• World Center for Humanist Studies (WCHS)
• The Community (for human development), International
Federation

Supporters of the Charter:

• Mr. Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome
• Mr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, President of the World’s
Mayors for Peace
• Mr. Agazio Loiero, Governor of Calabria Region, Italy
• Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, Former President of the Pugwash
Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Nobel Peace Laureate
Organization
• David T. Ives, Albert Schweitzer Institute
• Peace People, Organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Maired Corrigan Maguire and Betty William, Belfast (Northern
Ireland)
• Bob Geldof, singer
• George Clooney, actor
• Don Cheadle, actor
• Associazione “MEMORIA CONDIVISA”

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