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 the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Fifty - fourth session (29 July - 16 August 2002)
Economic, social and cultural rights
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket
fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and 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
These splendid words were recited half a century ago by the
greatest president the United States had known, President Dwight
Eisenhower, a man who survived the tragic consequences of two
devastating world wars. He
experienced them firsthand in his capacity as one of the highest
military commanders during that painful period of bloodshed and
Evidently, research confirms that humanity is wasting third of
its efforts on the manufacturing, trading and reserving of arms in a
relentless and endless race for weapons.
This is a fact which has led two thirds of the world’s
population to live in poverty and thousands of its children to face
starvation daily. Imagine
if these enormous efforts could be shifted to agriculture as well as to
the establishment of training schools and rewarding of teachers in the
manner they deserve to be honored.
How, without a doubt, this would end poverty, diminish feelings
of hatred, and restore stability and tranquillity among nations and
We have mentioned on more than one occasion that racism and
racial discrimination in its ethnic, religious and racial origins has,
slowly but surely, begun to diminish.
Little by little, it is being replaced and re-manifested through
a new scale designed to discriminate between nations and peoples on the
basis of rich vs. Poor nations, developed vs. Developing countries, and
in a more general sense, between nations which produce and export
weapons, and nations which are often led into a hysteria of acquiring
and depleting these weapons.
In the Dark Ages, weapons were invented by the primitive caveman
from carved stones or sharpened sticks for self-defense against fierce
animals or for sustenance, and was never intended for violence against
other human beings. How
then can nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction
and a fighter jet launching tons of bombs and missiles penetrating
across continents be justified as defense arms in this time and age of
the so called advanced and civilized world!!?
How can any of us be proud of deteriorating to such a state of
Undoubtedly, there has been continuous serious efforts during
recent decades to limit this arms race and it has been a positive
phenomenon to be encouraged had the world media and press been guided by
intellectuals, scientists and human rights organizations.
However, today’s media and press are unfortunately directed and
influenced by arms traders and brokers and the magnates of their circles
throughout Europe and America.
Two events happened during the past century of major significance
in this regard. The first
involved the League of Nation’s World War I commemoration of the
agreement to end the use of poison gas which nations have strictly
adhered to since.
The second event involved almost every nation’s changing of the
name of their Army Ministry to the Defense Ministry reflecting
nations’ response to people’s loathing of war in all its forms and
by all means. Deriving from
this worthwhile point, it could have been possible to divide arms into
defense arms legitimately authorized, and offensive arms which should be
banned as illegitimate. Certainly
United Nations committees and its experts can determine the various
types of arms and classify them accordingly.
Just as the world community succeeded at banning the use of
poison gas during the beginning of this century, it should be able to
succeed at banning today’s illegitimate offensive arms.
Although we are aware of the difficulty of achieving this noble
goal, we must exert every effort to succeed in this endeavor.
Perhaps one of the attempts to be considered is to ban the energy
substance necessary for the manufacturing of these harmful weapons.
Fortunately, nations supplying the energy substance are not the
nations producing weapons. Therefore,
OPEC nations, which will surely receive the support of public opinion,
can stop supplying this energy to the manufacturers of offensive arms.
This suggestion might be naive or even ridiculous, but there is
consolation in what was said by the philosopher Schopenhauer, “all
truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
6 August 2002