Rafael’s speech at UN – World March

May 6, 2009

Dear friends

First of all, I’d like to thank the permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations, the host of this gathering, other delegations, individuals and organisations that are accompanying us and very specially the members of “World without Wars” and humanists from New York that have made this presentation of the “World March for Peace and Nonviolence” at the United Nations possible.

The first thing to answer is: what is this march? It’s an action at a global level, the first action of this scale, asking for Peace and Nonviolence. The WM emerged as a response to the increase in violence in all sectors and spheres of society, from inter-governmental levels down to the spheres of daily life. This is happening in all countries of the planet. We are in a violent world in which we have to find new paths that open the future for us as individuals, as nations and also as the whole of humanity.

The WM is trying to help to find these new responses stressing that we have to re-pose the concept of Peace. We have to go deeper in its conception.

It’s not possible that governments speak of peace at the same time as they have weapons factories fully functioning.
It’s not possible to speak of peace at the same time as invading countries.
It’s not possible that 3 trillion dollars are invested in weapons and nothing is targeted to stop the death of more than 165,000 people who are dying today, the product of global hunger. 60 million in 2008 according to data that came from here, the United Nations. When only 0.01% of that spending on weapons would be able to feed these people.

Humanity is clamouring for a world where these things don’t happen.

Besides, as E. Galeano said, “Wars need weapons and weapons need wars”. If we produce weapons they end up being used.

To advance in this situation we want to create a consciousness of the need for Peace. We have recent examples. Consciousness has been created about ecology over a short time, just a few decades. Today the whole world knows that it is not good to pollute. This was not evident a few years ago. We want to create a consciousness that we can modify things. We want to create a consciousness that the solutions are in the hands of the people. Governments are going to act if there is popular pressure, if there is social pressure, and better if it’s global pressure.

There are moments where politicians set the directions of nations and there are moments where the people have to set the direction for politicians.

So we should not only cry out that we want peace but rather that we are going to work to achieve and maintain it.

The march is the response to the seriousness of the world situation, with an economic crisis, all of whose consequences we still do not see, some of those will be very serious.

Equally serious is the situation of nuclear weapons. That’s why the works in these days by all social sectors here in the United Nations to prepare the next NPT conference in 2010 are very good.

So we have to mobilise. Each one can do what they can, some more than others. But with the contribution of many we can build this great social force.

How is the WM proposed? What will be done?

Starting on the 2nd of October, simultaneously in many cities all kinds of activities will start to take place: marches, festivals, forums, demonstrations, debates, cultural and artistic activities, etc. This same day, a small team of some 50 people, will start a sequential journey, a symbolic journey that, starting in Wellington, New Zealand, will end in Punta de Vacas, Argentina, after a journey through 6 continents including the Antarctic. To this sequential journey there have been added numerous new routes until the March has become a dense web.

What is the current situation of the WM today?

The World March is growing day by day with new contributions. It was started by the humanist association “World without Wars” with an initial journey through 40 countries and today there are over 90. These are the numbers: 300 cities, 700 initiatives, 800 personalities, 1800 organisations, 200 universities and educational centres, 150 mayors and councils, 4 Presidents (Bachelet, Kirchner, Mesic of Croatia, Ramos-Horta of East Timor). There are important Latin American presidents who are about to confirm their support.

Nobel Prize winners: the Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchu, Saramago; Intellectuals: Noam Chomsky, Federico Mayor Zaragoza and Eduardo Galeano.

All of you know artists such as Viggo Mortensen, Joan Manual Serrat, Noa from Israel and Juanes. Yesterday I found out that Penelope Cruz is endorsing. All of them decisively supporting this WM.

From another direction, the WM is being enriched with contents.
We are receiving contributions that we want to incorporate into the WM. Yesterday we met with Jonathan Granoff, co-author of the “Charter for a World without Violence”, a document endorsed by 19 Nobel Peace Prize winners.

We are convinced that adherence to the principles 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 firmly convinced that creating a culture of peace and nonviolence, while a difficult and long process is a necessary and noble purpose. Affirmation of the principles contained in this Charter is a vital first step to ensuring the survival and development of humanity and the achievement of a world without violence.
We, Nobel Peace Laureates and Laureate Organizations,

Also yesterday we met here with Mayor Akiba, President of Mayors for Peace, who have endorsed the WM. They are advancing the “Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol”, of which this is an extract.
Desiring to establish an over-arching means of addressing nuclear disarmament in all its aspects so as to facilitate the fulfilment by States Parties of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and with a view to all states fulfilling the nuclear disarmament obligation found by the International Court of Justice in their 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of the use or threat of nuclear weapons;

We take this opportunity to highlight the principle objectives of the WM:

• Total elimination of nuclear weapons
• Withdrawal of armies that are occupying foreign states.
• Signing of non-aggression treaties.
• Proportional disarmament, reducing weapons spending.
• Renunciation of war on the part of States as a form of resolving conflicts, as is recognised in the new Bolivian constitution of Evo Morales.

This World March that we are presenting today in the headquarters of the United Nations has the basic objectives of creating consciousness that the only way is that of Peace and that it’s necessary to accompany this Peace with the methodology of Nonviolence so that we may truly enter into a new stage for humanity.

The WM is becoming a multiplying and simultaneous phenomenon in the whole world. We have indicators that we are going in the direction of becoming the biggest demonstration for peace in history. But we need the support of you all for this to succeed.

For this, it only remains for me to invite you to this great challenge: that together we disseminate and make this proposal known among all the delegations of the countries that are represented in the United Nations in such a way that they can decide whether or not to participate in it.

We have two important milestones. The first is the opening of the next UN Assembly in September where all Heads of States of the world will come together and the second is when the WM arrives at the United Nations on the 1st of December.

To finish, I have been asked to recall the text of the first global launch of the WM that was made last November.

… seeking food and shelter those first inhabitants penetrated deep into inhospitable and unknown lands, where they struggled against, beasts, elements and forces of nature. It was this way for millennia. At the end of that great age the whole planet was populated.

In another age, seeking wealth, possessions and adventures, a few people subjugated others. They massacred and enslaved, appropriating their goods, their resources, their bodies and their minds. So they have been travelling the whole world sewing subjugation, hunger, misery, illness and pain – a lot of pain.

But today times of renovation have arrived, in which the human being once more travels planet earth. Not to satisfy hunger, nor to enslave or rob others, but rather to extend a hand in recognition of a brother, to reconcile, to collaborate, to build the bases for a new culture, a new civilisation that has never before existed on Earth. So that we may decisively build the Universal Human Nation…

The times in which the human being, decided to stand up, converging from different races, beliefs and generations, for the first time in history in a common endeavour: a great march that travelled the world moving the human consciousness and heart…

Thanks for you attention

New York, 6th of May 2009

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