ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
5 route des Morillons, CP 2100. 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Telephone & Fax: 788.62.33
ON PROMOTION AND PROTECTION
OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Fifty - first session ( 2 AUGUST - 27 August 1999)
Item 12: Review of further developments in fields with
which the Sub-Commission
has been or may be concerned
Will you and all the colleagues allow me to cite a quotation
stated by a man of experience and wisdom.
A man who went through the first and second World Wars, and later
was elected as the president of the United States of America during the
fifties. This man said “every gun that is made, every warship
launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed - those who are cold and not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone - it is spending
the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of
its children.” Dwight D.
Eisenhower said on another occasion
“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do
more to promote peace than are governments.
Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these
days governments had better get out of their way and let them have
If an ordinary man made this statement, it might not generate
much attention. But when a
statement like this is made the world should listen closely and pay more
attention because it was made by a military commander who survived the
tragic consequences of two devastating world wars and lived to hold the
presidency of a superpower as the United States.
A country, which I might add, currently produces and exports
weapons of mass destruction world-wide, and its naval fleets and armed
forces are marching nowadays across different corners of the world with
and without justification. Thus, a statement from an experienced and
wise military commander has its deep meaning and warning, which should
be highly considered by this Subcommission, and more so by
non-governmental organizations who truly represent the people of the
Evidently, in general the manufacturing of arms and weapons
of mass destruction represents third of humanity’s mischanneled effort
worldwide. If this enormous
human and financial investment could be drastically and wisely shifted
to agriculture as well as to the establishment of schools, and
educational institutions and universities, it would without a doubt
transform our world to a true paradise in which there would not be one
poor or deprived human being.
We are repeating our appeal year after year.
If we kept repeating our appeals without taking effective and
practical steps towards implementing a concrete plan of action with the
support of the world community, our pleas would be of no significant
consequence. Therefore, it
is our collective duty, especially that of non-governmental
organizations and members of the Subcommission, to rise to the challenge
of highlighting the issues and identifying the necessary measures to
accomplish the desired ends in co-operation with the extensive machinery
of the different United Nations bodies and specialized agencies.
In view of our organization’s active role for the past
twenty-five years, we are of the opinion that perhaps one of the best
means to achieve a common and worthwhile goal is in directing our
attention and the attention of others to the field of education.
Humanity’s aspirations and advancement belong to every fellow
human being without distinction to race, national or social origin,
political or other opinion.
We and many others believe that humanity’s future and its
progress and prosperity depend, largely and essentially, on the success
of educational institutions worldwide at guiding future generations to
believe in a united humanity as reflected in the essence of the Charter
of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are certain you realize that the success of this
institution, the United Nations, depends to a large extent on how much
people, all the people, believe in its effectiveness and its effect on
their dreams for a better and more prosperous future without tragedies
and wars. We are also
certain that you are aware that ninety percent of the people of this
planet lack the basic knowledge about the role this great institution
plays in international affairs, and they often lack the understanding of
the United Nations role as it relates to their lives and future.
Therefore, it is our solemn duty and obligation, each in the
sphere of our own specialized fields, to do all we can to educate and
inform the people of our planet about the importance of this institution
in their lives and for their future.
Since the Charter of the United Nations was intended for the
people of this earth as it stated “We the people of the United
Nations,” then perhaps one of the means to spread the word and to
reach, as we hope, a sharing of basic knowledge and understanding about
the role of the UN among the people of all nations, is to encourage such
awareness through education.
Reference in the curriculum of the last year of elementary
school to the Charter of the United Nations and to the Universal
Deceleration of Human Rights, mere mentioning of the basic guiding
principles of the two historical documents in the curriculum of the last
year of junior high, and highlighting in the curriculum of high school
some details concerning the important chapters and articles contained in
these internationally recognized universal documents, can and will have
a great impression and a positive impact on the spirits of our children,
who are the leading generations of the future.
We are certain, Mr. chairman, that in spite of the simplicity
of our recommendation, even if it was not officially adopted by the
Subcommission, it would at least prompt the experts and NGOs to think
along these lines about this important issue and to study it further to
achieve the same or similar purposes.
Thank you for your attention.