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Our Vision

It was the worst of centuries and the best of centuries...

The past 99 years have seen more death, and more brutal death, from war, famine, and other preventable causes than any other time span in history. They have seen the tender flame of democracy snuffed out again and again by crazed dictators, military regimes and colossal international power struggles. They have seen the widening of the gulf between the favored of the earth and the wretched of the earth and the growing callousness of the former toward the latter.

But the years have also witnessed the power of the people to resist and overcome present oppression as well as age-old prejudices of gender against gender, race against race, religion against religion, and ethnic group against ethnic group. These years have witnessed an explosion of scientific and technical knowledge which make possible a decent life for all who inhabit this planet, the formulation of a set of universal rights which, if taken seriously, would translate that possibility into reality, and the infancy of a system of global governance which, if allowed to grow, could guide this transition.

We, members and representatives of people's organizations from many cultures and spheres of society, mindful of the dual history of this century, issue the following appeal to ourselves and to those who profess to lead us: As the global community moves into the 21st century, let this be the first century without war.Let us find ways and implement the ways already available to prevent conflict by removing its causes, which include the unequal distribution of the world's vast resources, the hostility of nations and of groups within nations toward each other, and the presence of ever more deadly arsenals of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. When conflicts arise, as they inevitably will despite our best efforts, let us find ways and implement the ways already available to resolve them without resort to violence.Let us, in short, complete the work of the Peace Conference held in The Hague a century ago by returning to the vision of general and complete disarmament which flickered briefly on the world stage after the last World War.

This will require new structures for peace and a fundamentally strengthened international legal order. Specifically, let us find the moral, spiritual and political will to do what our leaders know must be done but cannot bring themselves to Abolish nuclear weapons, land mines and all other weapons incompatible with humanitarian law, Abolish the arms trade, or at least reduce it to levels compatible with the prohibition of aggression enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; Strengthen humanitarian law and institutions for the period of transition to a world without war; Examine the causes of conflict and develop creative ways of preventing and resolving conflict; and overcome colonialism in all its forms and to use the tremendous resources liberated by an end or reduction of the arms race for the eradication of poverty; neocolonialism; the new slavery; and the new apartheid; for the preservation of the environment; and for the benefits of peace and justice for all.

In pursuing these goals, let us commit to initiating the final steps for abolishing war, for replacing the law of force with the force of law.

In pursuing these goals, let us commit to initiating the final steps for abolishing war, for replacing the law of force with the force of law.