UN HUMAN RIGHTS Conference for a Culture of Peace :
The WFTU, member of the UN ECOSOC since it’s foundation in 1945 with general consultative status, participated today in this conference represented by Anda Anastasaki Executive Secretary presenting the position of the WFTU as follows.
The protection of vulnerable groups is a crucial aspect of the defence of the human rights outlined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and its subsequent conventions.
While government structures and policies are necessary to defend these rights, we cannot rely on states to ensure them. They ultimately depend on the solidarity of societies and the way individuals act and communities behave. Thus, the protection of human rights depends on building cultures of peace that resolve conflicts without violence and link governments to the emotional bonds and human relationships that constitute civil society.
To build cultures of peace, the General Assembly advocated working on eight bases. This paper examines these bases, their interdependence and their dependence on both state systems and community solidarity. It proposes concrete actions that can promote human rights.
We must protect vulnerable groups in order to fulfil the human rights outlined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and its subsequent conventions. After affirming the basic dignity and equality of all human beings, the articles of the Declaration list from so-called “negative” rights – such as the right to life and liberty, equal protection before the law, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and 6 “positive” rights, such as the right to employment, education and an adequate standard of living.
The Declaration is an attempt to establish a set of ideal universal norms.
It concludes with articles stating: “Everyone has the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized” and “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of personality is possible.”
The history of the 20th century shows that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, fascism, neo-fascism and neo-colonialism have become serious causes of war and violations of human rights. Fighting against all such tendencies is an important task of the peace movement.
The WFTU supports the “International Year for the Culture of Peace” and the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World”, as proclaimed by the UN. It is necessary to intensify our action for an education that gives special attention to peace, disarmament, development, environmental protection, the role of information and human rights.
The danger of terrorism is a threat to peace, security, national sovereignty and integrity, whether it comes from specific groups, countries or religious denominations. The peace movement has a duty to fight for the elimination of terrorism.
The WFTU supports the struggle of indigenous people for their right to land, identity and self-determination.
We call on our 110 million members and friends in 130 countries on five continents to work together and collaborate on the tasks and demands listed above for a 21st century of peace and security against the current order of war and intervention.