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Monday, 15. July 2024

Statement of the Nobel Peace Laureates

Nobel Peace Prize Congress in Rome, 2005

"Africa Emergency: from attention to action"
Rome, November 23-26, 2005

As Nobel Peace Laureates and Nobel Peace Laureate organizations we have gathered in Rome, Italy these past three days and deliberated on global issues with a particular concern regarding Africa.

Our rapidly changing complex and contradictory world presents several features that must be recognized if we are to build more effective governance for a better world order:

Globalization is accelerating and despite recognized interdependencies billions of people remain excluded from its benefits.
New giants, such as China, India and Brazil are emerging and no solution to world challenges can be achieved without their full participation.
Democratic transitions in many countries have had a positive impact on social and political processes but democracy cannot find stability without overcoming poverty full implementation of human rights.
There remains a pressing need to advance a deeper and fuller appreciation for the richness and complexity of the Islamic world. Failure to achieve this could have explosive consequences.
Despite growing recognition of our collective responsibility for sustainable development, the environment, and security, governmental institutions are not responding adequately to the voice of the people.
Ethnic, religious and nationalistic prejudices stimulate violence, undermining our ability to live in peace in a diversified world. We know such conflicts can be resolved through nonviolent means.
We recognize that in an interconnected world every individual can make a difference. For that reason we have honored Bob Geldof with the Man for Peace Award for his service to Africa and humanity in mobilizing public attention and causing the G-8 to take steps to help Africa. For that reason we have honored the memory of a great human being, Prof. Joseph Rotblat, and presented the Special Man for Peace Award to Peace Jam and its founders Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff for their service in finding ways to teach and inspire youth to advance peace. We welcome the launch of Children’s Peace Prize during our summit.

We condemn the use of and the rationales for torture as an instrument of policy by any group or nation. Torture cannot be justified under any circumstance. It dehumanizes both its victims and its perpetrators.

This year we focused on Africa because its extreme poverty is morally unacceptable and undermines the foundations of life and human dignity. Additionally, we know the means to reverse this situation are available.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which have the consensus of the nations of the world, are an indispensable promise to the poor of the world, especially Africa. We are deeply concerned that the MDG goals are not being sufficiently met and were inadequately addressed at the Summit of Heads of State at the United Nations in September of 2005. They provide a framework for progress and a way toward decent work, and full employment opportunity, for all of Africa – the best way out of poverty as stated by the African Heads of State at their extraordinary summit in Ouagadougou in September, 2004. Encouraging small businesses through micro- credit and stimulating investment are but two examples of what needs to be done.

Many African nations are making good faith efforts to advance democracy, improve governance, accountability and gender equity. The world now must fulfill its promises to all the people of Africa. There is an urgent need to end gross human rights violations and assure accountability for all abuses. We abhor child labor. Effective and fair justice systems are essential to ensure stability and economic development.

The G-8 commitments in Gleneagles are a first step. The upcoming WTO negotiations in Hong Kong will be a test of whether these commitments are honored. In this regard, in addition to debt cancellation, we call for increased aid flows, and prompt reform of inequitable policies and practices, especially agricultural subsidies that damage Africa and the entire developing world. We urge the European Union immediately to break the current deadlock on agricultural trade negotiations.

We personally and through our respective institutions commit to scrutinize and hold to account the full commitments of the G-8 at Gleneagles on Africa and we shall remain fully engaged with this critical matter.

As Nobel Peace Laureates we request President Gorbachev and Mayor Veltroni of Rome to convey to President Putin, as next year’s G-8 chairman, our request to place on the agenda of the G-8 Summit in Moscow next year the creation of an accounting and monitoring system to ensure fulfillment of all Gleneagles’ commitments. At the same time we call upon Africa to continue making progress on the New Economic Partnership for African Development.

Focusing on meeting human needs and having a reverence for life are the foundation of human security. Excessive military expenditures actually breeds insecurity. Two areas where funds need to be channeled by both African nations themselves and the international community are education and health, particularly regarding the scourges of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through both protection and prevention.

While expressing regret that some African nations spend too much on conventional weapons, we commend the entire African continent for becoming a nuclear weapons free zone. It is absurd that the Nations with nuclear weapons refuse even to pledge not to use nuclear weapons against all nuclear weapons free nations.

As in past years, we reiterate our insistence that the existence of nuclear weapons is morally unacceptable and condemn military doctrines allowing their use. We demand progress by the nuclear weapons states in fulfilling their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The corrosion of the nonproliferation regime is a danger to world peace.

We call for full compliance with and universal ratification of the Ottawa Convention Banning Anti- Personnel Landmines.

We salute Mohammed El Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the recipients of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. We emphasize that IAEA strengthened safeguards and inspections are the best solution to concerns regarding proliferation.

We reaffirm our strong belief that there is no alternative to sustainable development. Development is more than just material wealth. Development means being more, not just having more. Being more just, compassionate, and humane is to become fully human. In this regard the nations with material wealth need development as much as the poor. To improve global governance and to engage civil society in developing its full capacities, we propose to start work on drafting a new global social contract and will be inviting wide participation in this process.

We commit to creating a Secretariat in Italy to amplify our efforts to advance world peace.

A Call for Freedom:
We note with deep concern that we have once more been deprived of the presence and wisdom of our colleague Aung San Suu Kyi. A witness for nonviolence and democracy should not be silenced. This is a loss for the whole world.

We call upon the government of Myanmar to restore the civil, human and political rights, of Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers, fully, immediately and without reservation. Justice demands this.

We support the International Labor Organization’s call for full recognition of trade union rights in Myanmar. We call upon the ASEAN governments and businesses to intensify efforts to obtain full human rights for the people of Myanmar.

We ask all persons of good will to work with us in all these endeavors.

Mikhael Gorbachev
Lech Walesa
Frederik Willem De Klerk
Betty Williams
Mairead Corrigan Maguire
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Adolfo Perez Esquivel
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
International Labor Organization
International Peace Bureau
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
United Nations
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees