Developing a Culture of Peace

Manila Bulletin, April 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

Developing a Culture of Peace


Byline: Mr. SERGIO PAEZ VERDUGO President of the InterParliamentary Union

(Speech delivered at the inaugural ceremony of the 112th Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.)

THE Inter-Parliamentary Union has come to the warm and welcoming lands of the Philippines in a context of major challenges for representative institutions and for those who work, day in and day out, for peace and the common good in the world.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the parliamentary authorities of the Philippines for their availability and for being such worthy hosts of the most important annual event of the worlds parliamentarians.

This 112th Inter-Parliamentary Assembly is a new opportunity to highlight the critical nature of the parliamentary function, the hallmark of which is a symbiosis of thought and action; of legislative action and political practice.

Here, in Manila, we must hold a productive and open debate on a topical, concrete and realistic agenda so as to make it possible to draw up effective and realistic international and national legislation addressing the problems that our constituents face.

Our agenda here in Manila addresses a set of issues that have an impact on peoples everyday aspirations: peace, freedom, justice, health and equitable growth. This will not be an exercise in highfalutin rhetoric, but rather an invitation to give form to legal standards promoting and guaranteeing these rights in practice.

Once again, we must put to the test the three elements that underpin the raison detre of a legislator: our political will, our vocation of service, and the noble struggle for the common good.

The need to work for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the united fight to stem the uncontrollable spread of AIDS and the march towards effective global justice to end impunity are all subjects requiring urgent attention. Representatives must be sensitive to the popular will, and forever closer to the needs and aspirations of the people of the five continents.

Urgent action is also required to address the great challenge of our times and of the future, that of the growing migratory flows in all continents; it is needed to determine how to prevent the natural disasters that are part of our world and to channel and act dynamically and effectively when they strike, as well as to take parliamentary action to prevent trafficking in children and violence against women in situations of conflict. These concerns too will be part of our deliberations.

Consequently, we are called upon to initiate a broad and rich exchange of ideas and policies to give rise to a new platform of global progress founded on humanism, diversity, pluralism and effective solidarity.

The global agenda cannot be seen as a self-defined, unequivocal and closed slate, restricted to certain subjects, as large parts of the international system apparently would believe. The fight against terrorism must be comprehensive and include its various aspects, such as legal terror, or state terrorism, and point to aspects that lie at the root of these despicable phenomena.

Similarly, political freedom has its corollary in the ability of peoples to free themselves from hunger, poverty and the pandemics that increasingly threaten them.

For this reason, here in Manila the IPU will strongly assert the need for all of the worlds States to ratify the Rome Statute, with the objective of preventing and punishing crimes against humanity, thus promoting respect for international humanitarian law and human rights. In this way, we will contribute to ensuring justice, the rule of law, the maintenance of peace and international security.

We will advocate the incorporation in national laws of the obligations deriving from the Rome Statute and other relevant treaties, in particular respect for the definitions of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide and their respective criminal procedures. …

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