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UN General Assembly presses Security Council to give ‘favourable consideration’ to full Palestinian membership

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A news release from the United Nations

The UN General Assembly convened again in New York on Friday (May 10) for an emergency special session on the Gaza crisis and overwhelmingly passed a resolution which upgrades Palestine’s rights at the world body as an Observer State, without offering full membership. It urged the Security Council to give “favourable consideration” to Palestine’s request.

What does the resolution mean?

Here’s a quick recap of what this means: by adopting this resolution the General Assembly will upgrade the rights of the State of Palestine within the world body, but not the right to vote or put forward its candidature to such organs as the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Granting Palestinian membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council. At the same time, the Assembly determines that the State of Palestine is qualified for such status and recommends that the Security Council “reconsider the matter favourably”.

(Editor’s note: The negative vote of the United States on this resolution and their remarks quoted below suggest that they will continue to veto any resolution for UN membership of Palestine at the Security Council, as they did most recently on April 18).

None of the upgrades in status will take effect until the new session of the Assembly opens on 10 September.

Here are some of the changes in status that Palestine will have a right to later this year:

1. To be seated among Member States in alphabetical order
2. Make statements on behalf of a group
3. Submit proposals and amendments and introduce them
4. Co-sponsor proposals and amendments, including on behalf of a group
5. Propose items to be included in the provisional agenda of the regular or special sessions and the right to request the inclusion of supplementary or additional items in the agenda of regular or special sessions
6. The right of members of the delegation of the State of Palestine to be elected as officers in the plenary and the Main Committees of the General Assembly
7. Full and effective participation in UN conferences and international conferences and meetings convened under the auspices of the General Assembly or, as appropriate, of other UN organs

4:59 PM

Saudi Arabia: Re-establish the truth

Saudi Arabian Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil recalled General Assembly resolutions adopted over the years that reaffirmed the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination.

“The resolution presented today is fully in line with those resolutions. It seeks to implement the will of the international community and contribute to building true peace in the Middle East based on the two-State solution,” he said.

“It is high time for the international community to re-establish the truth because the world can no longer ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people that has lasted for decades,” he added.

Ambassador Alwasil further noted Israel, the occupying power, has perpetrated “all sorts of crimes” against Palestinian people, scorning international law.

“Israel is convinced that they are above these resolutions and that they enjoy a certain level of immunity…which explains their ongoing hostile and brutal policies,” he said.

He highlighted the dire situation in Rafah, the last refuge for the Palestinian people which was also densely populated by those displaced from elsewhere and called he for a strong international position to put an end to the Israeli practices in Gaza.

Concluding his statement, the Ambassador expressed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to supporting the right of Palestinian people to self-determination and to build their own independent State within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with relevant resolutions. 

4:43 PM

China: Resolution reflects the will of the international community

Ambassador FU Cong of China said that Palestine should have the same status as Israel and that Palestinian people should enjoy the same rights as Israeli people.

“It is the common responsibility of the international community to support and advance the process of Palestinian independent Statehood, and provide strong support for the implementation of the two-State solution and a lasting peace in the Middle East,” he said.

He further noted that on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, the United States repeatedly used its veto “in an unjustified attempt” to obstruct the international community’s efforts to correct the “historical injustice long visited on Palestine”.

“It is not commensurate with the role of a responsible major country,” he said.

He also recalled the overwhelming support for the General Assembly resolution, adopted earlier in the day, reaffirming the right of Palestinian people to self-determination and recommending that the Security Council reconsider favourably its application to join the United Nations.

“China welcomes this historic resolution, which reflects the will of the international community,” Ambassador Fu said.

“We believe that the special modalities adopted within the limits permitted by the UN Charter will enable the international community to listen more adequately to the voice of Palestine and help it to talk and negotiate with Israel on a more equal footing.”

3:04 PM

Assembly President Francis resumed the meeting, with about 72 speakers left to take the floor. The spokesperson for the General Assembly announced earlier in the day that due to the number of remaining speakers, the meeting will likely continue on Monday.

1:07 PM

With the last speaker for the morning having delivered their statement, the President of the General Assembly adjourned the meeting. It will reconvene at 3 PM New York time.

1:00 PM

Switzerland: Ceasefire urgently needed

Swiss Ambassador Pascale Christine Baeriswyl explained that her country’s abstention from the vote was in line with its position at the Security Council last month.

“We felt that in view of the great instability prevailing in the region, this stage was not conducive to improving the situation,” she said.

“Without opposing it, we believe it would be preferable to consider admitting Palestine as a full member of the United Nations at time when such a step would insert itself in the logic of emerging peace,” she added, noting that such admission would have to follow the procedures enshrined in the UN Charter.

She also voiced Switzerland’s firm support to the two-State solution, stating that only a negotiated solution in which two States – Israel and Palestine – live side by side in peace and security can lead to lasting peace.

Ambassador Baeriswyl also voiced deep concern over the catastrophic situation of civilians in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, stating that it could worsen further in the event of a major Israeli military offensive in Rafah.

“Such a prospect is unacceptable, and Switzerland reaffirms its opposition to such an operation,” she said, emphasising the need to ensure protection of humanitarians and respect for international humanitarian and human rights laws.

In conclusion, she called for an immediate ceasefire.

“Safety of civilians must be ensured. All hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally, and safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian aid must be allowed via all crossing points.”

12:10 PM

Firmly committed to two-State solution: UK

Barbara Woodward, Ambassador of the United Kingdom, said that her country remains “firmly committed” to the two-State solution that guarantees security and stability for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people.

“We are abstaining from this resolution because we believe the first step towards achieving this goal is resolving the immediate crisis in Gaza,” she said, emphasising that the fastest way to end the conflict is “to secure a deal which gets the hostages out and allows for a pause in the fighting”.

“We must then work together to turn that pause into a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”

She added that “setting out the horizon” for a Palestinian State should be one of the vital conditions from moving from a pause in fighting to a sustainable ceasefire.

“Recognising a Palestinian State, including at the UN, should be part of that process,” she said.

Ambassador Woodward also noted that the UK remains deeply concerned about the prospect of a major operation in Rafah and that it will not support such an act, unless there is a “very clear plan” on protecting civilians as well as their access to aid and medical care.

“We have not seen that plan, so in these circumstances, we will not support a major operation in Rafah,” she said.

11:58 AM

France: High time for political solution

French Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière said his country voted in favour of the resolution, noting also the clarifications provided in the text on the right to vote and the right to be elected, which are the prerogatives of Member States alone.

“France recalls that the procedure for admitting a new Member State is defined by the UN Charter, and it must not be circumvented,” he said.

He also noted that France is in favour of the admission of Palestine as a full member of the Organization, which is why it voted in favour at the Security Council last month.

Reiterating his country’s condemnation of the terrorist attacks by Hamas and other groups on 7 October, Ambassador de Rivière stated France’s demand for a ceasefire and release of all hostages.

“The offensive that has started in Rafah risks causing numerous victims and displacing people at a time where nowhere can be deemed safe today in Gaza. There is further risk of disrupting delivery of aid,” he said, expressing his country’s opposition to the military operation.

“All parties must do everything they can to protect civilians and guarantee access for humanitarian aid. It is high time to mobilise for a political solution,” he added.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

11:46 AM

Statehood must be negotiated: US

Explaining the US’s negative vote, Ambassador Robert Wood said that it did not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood.

“We have been very clear that we support it and seek to advance it meaningfully. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that statehood will come from a process that involves direct negotiations between the parties,” he said.

“There is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and future as a democratic Jewish State. There is no other path that guarantees Palestinians can live in peace and dignity in a State of their own,” he added.

He further expressed the US commitment to intensifying its engagement with Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East region to advance a political settlement that will create a path to Palestinian statehood and subsequent membership in the UN.

“This resolution does not resolve the concerns about the Palestinian membership application raised in April in the Security Council…and should the  Security Council take up the Palestinian membership application as a result of this resolution, there will be a similar outcome,” he said.

11:24 AM

Draft resolution passed overwhelmingly

The vote is in. It has passed overwhelmingly with 143 countries in favour, nine against and 25 abstaining.

11:22 AM

The Assembly just voted to pass the draft resolution as long as two thirds agree.

11:18 AM

Pakistan: Resolution vote will determine strong support

Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan said there will come a day when Israel will be held accountable for the crimes committed against Palestinians, especially in Gaza.

The insults hurled today are “the arrogance of the aggressor” reflecting the impunity of the occupier, he said, explaining his delegation’s position ahead of the vote on the draft resolution.

He also expressed hope that the international community will appropriately respond in that regard.

The Ambassador underscored that the resolution’s adoption will determine the widespread support for Palestine to be accorded full UN membership.

11:05 AM

Russia: A moral duty

The Assembly is now preparing to vote on the draft resolution.

Before that, some countries are exercising their right to make statements before the vote, starting with Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.

He is criticising the US, saying that the resolution is complicated because it is attempting to advance Palestinian membership as far as possible without provoking another veto from Washington on full membership.

He said Palestine deserves nothing less than full membership at the UN. 

“It is the moral duty of everyone,” he said.

“Only full-fledged membership will allow Palestine to stand alongside other members of the Organization and enjoy the rights that this status implies.”

10:55 AM

Israel: Extra benefits for Palestine would appease terrorists

Israel’s Ambassador Gilad Erdan said that after Hitler’s rise to power, the Nazis had sought to annihilate the Jewish people and all those they deemed sub-human, but the forces of good fought to return peace to the world, and the UN was founded to ensure that such tyranny never raised its head again.

“Today, you are doing the opposite…welcoming a terror State into its ranks,” he said. 

“You have opened up the United Nations to modern-day Naziism. It makes me sick.”

The terrorist group Hamas controls Gaza and has taken over areas of the West Bank, he said, holding up a poster showing Hamas’s leader, who he described as “a terrorist diplomat whose stated goal is Jewish genocide”.

“Today, you have a choice between weakness and fighting terror,” he said, adding that the UN is appeasing “murderous dictators” and destroying the UN Charter. “This day will go down in infamy.”

In closing, he held up a mini portable electric document shredder and inserted the cover of the UN Charter.

10:48 AM

Palestinian flag ‘flies high and proud’

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the observer State of Palestine, recounted the devastating impacts of the ongoing war in Gaza, with over 35,000 Palestinians killed, a further 80,000 injured and over two million displaced.

“No words can capture what such loss and trauma signify for Palestinians, their families, their communities and for our nation as whole,” he said.

He added that the Palestinians in Gaza have been pushed to the “very edge” of the Strip “to the very brink of life” with “bombs and bullets haunting them”.

Mr. Mansour highlighted that despite the attacks and destruction, the flag of Palestine “flies high and proud” in Palestine and across the globe, becoming a “symbol raised by all those who believe in freedom and its just rule”.

‘Lives cannot be restored’

“It is true that we will not disappear, but the lives lost cannot be restored,” he stated.

The Permanent Observer said people have to make a decision: stand by the right of a nation to live in freedom and dignity on its ancestral land, standing with peace and recognising the rights of Palestinians or they can stand on the sidelines of history.

Mr. Mansour said after holding observer status for 50 years, “we wish from all those who invoke the UN Charter to abide by the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination guaranteed by the Charter.”

“A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for Palestinian existence; it is not against any State, but it is against attempts to deprive us of our State,” he added, stating that it would be an investment in peace and empowering the forces of peace.

10:29 AM

Security Council must heed global call for Palestinian statehood: UAE

On behalf of the Arab Group, Mohamed Issa Hamad Mohamed Abushahab, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, introduced the draft resolution, saying it recommends that the Security Council reconsider Palestine’s full UN membership application.

“Today marks a defining moment,” he said.

The State of Palestine has demonstrated that it deserves full membership in the international community by acceding to international treaties, adhering to the UN Charter and meeting requirements of statehood. In addition, more than 140 countries now recognise Palestine as a State, he said.

Voting for the resolution amid the ongoing conflict would support the two-State solution to the crisis, he said, adding that the Security Council must respond to the will of the international community.

Vote to take place at 11:00 AM

After delivering his statement, the UAE Ambassador called on the Assembly to vote on the draft at 11:00 AM New York time.

Members agreed to do so and would afterwards resume the debate.

10:17 AM

Middle East on course for ‘full-scale catastrophe’, warns General Assembly President Dennis Francis

Mr. Francis said from the podium of the Assembly Hall that the Israel-Palestine crisis was the original crisis before the world body when it was founded in 1946.

Peace has remained elusive, and today has become an untenable situation that is deteriorating “at an alarming speed”, he told delegates.

This is “bringing countless innocent victims into its deadly fold and pushing the region further to the brink of full-scale catastrophe”.

He urged the international community to not look away from the dire situation that has unfolded since the  7 October terror attacks and the ensuing Israeli devastation of Gaza.

End the scourge of war

“Today, let us remember the legacy from which we hail. We stand proudly upon the shoulders of those who, many decades ago, recognised their ultimate responsibility to forge a peace that will banish the scourge and terror of war,” he urged.

“I therefore call upon the membership to purposely assess the situation before us, with nothing else in mind but a commitment to peace as our utmost ambition,” he said.

He called upon the parties to the conflict, supported by nations with leverage, to urgently come to an agreement on a ceasefire to bring to an end to the suffering of countless people and secure the release of all hostages.

“We must believe in the essential goodness of others,” he said, and “in the understanding that no problem of human relations is insoluble”, calling on them to help bring lasting peace, save lives and end the violence.

10:14 AM

He’s inviting the Assembly to recognise the fact that some members are in arrears with their mandatory contributions. If you don’t pay up, you lose your vote. Those are the rules. But, there are exceptions that have been made, including today. 

10:12 AM

The President of the General Assembly Dennis Francis has just gavelled in the resumed session on the Gaza crisis.

09:55 AM

Aid operations have come to a standstill since the start of the military’s ground operation in Rafah this week, with an estimated 100,000 Palestinians displaced once again in a highly fluid situation, according to humanitarians.

The Assembly is also expected to vote on a draft resolution, co-sponsored by a group of countries, concerning the status of the observer State of Palestine at the United Nations.

Read our explainer on Palestine’s status at the UN here.

The draft resolution follows the veto cast by United States at the Security Council on 18 April, which blocked Palestine’s admission as a full UN Member State. That draft resolution, submitted by non-permanent Council member Algeria, had received 12 votes in favour, with Switzerland and the United Kingdom abstaining.

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“Workers Have Power”: Thousands Rally in NYC for May Day, Call for Solidarity with Palestine

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A report from Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!

Workers around the world rallied Wednesday to mark May Day, with many calling on the labor movement to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. In New York, Democracy Now! spoke to demonstrators who demanded that U.S. unions apply political pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza and to stop their government’s arms trade with Israel. “Workers do have the power to shape the world,” said Palestinian researcher Riya Al’sanah, who was among thousands gathered at a May Day rally in Manhattan.


Jamil Madbak speaking on the video

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org.
We end today’s show on yesterday’s May Day activities in New York. Thousands of students, workers and others rallied in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to mark May Day.

JAMIL MADBAK: Jamil Madbak. In this current moment, after seven months of Zionist aggression against Gaza, is to underscore that there is a popular movement in support of Palestine, not just the students that are mobilizing, but also organized labor across the United States. That’s really important. After the mass arrests yesterday, we saw faculty at CUNY announce a sickout for today. We saw NYU faculty announce a grade strike. And we’ve seen other actions being taken in support of the students.
We know the United States manufactures bombs that are being dropped on the people in Gaza, the Palestinians, and the Arab population, more broadly. And in that sense, having an organized labor movement that is willing to advocate for the Palestinian struggle, to chip away at the strength of Western imperialism, more broadly, is essential. And for the Palestinians, the inverse is true. Like, it is our mandate to be part of a broader left in this country to help to struggle for worker rights here, understanding that a stronger labor movement means less of an ability to enact this destructive foreign policy.

PROTESTERS: Occupation no more! Occupation no more! Free, free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine!

RIYA AL’SANAH: My name is Riya Al’sanah. I’m a Palestinian researcher, an organizer with the Workers in Palestine initiative. We at Palestinian unions have been organizing and calling for the colleagues in the labor movement and unions internationally to stop arming Israel.

So, since the call in October, on the 16th of October, workers internationally have galvanized and organized in solidarity with the call. We have seen workers in Barcelona port declare that they will not be — they will be stopping arms shipments destined to Israel. Workers in Belgium and transport workers have blocked the supply of weapons to Israel. At the Port of Oakland, we also saw workers here in the U.S. take concrete solidarity and action. Internationally, workers have been organizing in their workplaces and in their unions in solidarity and to heed the call. We see this also with the UAW here in the U.S. and other unions who have been calling for ceasefire and picking up the call from Palestinian workers and Palestinian unions.

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Question related to this article:
 
How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

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This year, May Day comes at a moment where we Palestinians are subjected to a kind of undescribable onslaught, an undescribable violence. And it’s an important moment in our history to remember that workers do have the power to shape the world. Workers do have the power to influence kind of what happens not only locally, but to influence processes of colonial violence and dispossession on a bigger scale.

The very brave students and faculty on campuses in the U.S. advocating for divestment of Israeli — of military industries is a prime example of the entrenchment of militarism and military industries to all aspects of our lives, including our educational institutions. These campaigns at the moment amplify how the campaign, the call from Palestinian workers to stop arming Israel is a transformative demand for all of us to be involved in on campuses, in our various workplaces, as well.

JULIA THERESE BANNON: As a UAW member and as the president of my local, UAW must use its political power to put teeth into their call for a ceasefire. I am done with the narrative that this is a right-wing attack on free speech. This is the Democratic Party attacking free speech. This is Joe Biden attacking free speech. This is Chuck Schumer attacking a local. These so-called Democrats are the ones threatening our democracy by silencing anyone who speaks against their genocide. UAW must revoke endorsements of these politicians, if they want to make good on their call for a ceasefire.

BHAIRAVI DESAI: I bring you message of solidarity from the 28,000 members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. We are here to say to Genocide Joe that as long as your bombs are there, we will remain here. How today, on International Workers’ Day, a day that is normally full of pride and celebration, but since October, we cannot have a day that feels like joy or celebration, because the level of death and destruction, it is crushing to our sense of being a human being.

HEALTHCARE WORKER: I stand here before you today as a member of Healthcare Workers for Palestine, New York City. This is a lot closer to them. So, I’m just going to forewarn that I’ll be speaking about the mass graves, that our media has so intentionally neglected. Last weekend —

PROTESTERS: Shame! Shame!

HEALTHCARE WORKER: Last weekend, at least 283 bodies were found in a mass grave in Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in Gaza. These bodies, our families’ bodies, were found three meters into the ground, covered in waste, headless, skinless, organless, some of them zip-tied, and some of our healthcare workers still in their scrubs.

PROTESTERS: Shame!

HEALTHCARE WORKER: Three days later on Democracy Now!, we find out it wasn’t 283 bodies. It was at least 300. Three days after that, we find out it’s at least 400. And, y’all, we’re tired of playing this game of numbers.

NYU STUDENT: I am speaking to you as a student from the NYU encampment in solidarity with encampments and workers across the globe. To our administrations, we’re not going away. We hold our ground. We say to our administrations, to be suspended for Gaza is the highest honor.

PROTESTERS: Free, free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine!

AMY GOODMAN: Special thanks to Hana Elias, Charina Nadura and Messiah Rhodes. Those voices from the Foley Square rally on May Day.

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Amnesty International: Julian Assange’s five-year imprisonment in the UK is unacceptable

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Amnesty International

Today (April 11) marks five years of Julian Assange being detained in Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK. As he fights the extradition request from the US authorities, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, said:

“Julian Assange dared to bring to light revelations of alleged war crimes committed by the USA. It is unacceptable that years of his life have been stolen. He remains arbitrarily detained in the UK on politically-motivated charges, brought by the USA for exposing their suspected wrongdoing. The US authorities have failed to conduct a full and transparent investigation into their alleged war crimes. Instead, they have chosen to target Assange for publishing information leaked to him – even if it was of public interest. The ongoing persecution of Assange makes a mockery of the USA’s obligations under international law, and their stated commitment to freedom of expression.


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(click here for the article in French or click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

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“If extradited to the USA, Assange will be at risk of serious abuse, including prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill-treatment. Dubious diplomatic assurances made by the USA as to his treatment are not worth the paper they are written on, not least because they are not legally binding and are riddled with loopholes.

Assange is wanted for activities that are fundamental to all journalists and publishers, who often receive sensitive government information from outside sources. Wikileaks published evidence of civilian deaths and of alleged war crimes. The public has a right to know if their government is breaking international law. The US authorities are paving the way to a disastrous precedent for worldwide media freedom if Assange is extradited. The USA must drop all the charges against Assange, which will allow for his prompt release from UK state custody.”

Background

Julian Assange faces prosecution in the USA under the Espionage Act of 1917, a wartime law never intended to target the legitimate work of publishers and journalists. He could face up to 175 years in jail. On the charge of computer misuse, he could receive a maximum of five years.

On 26 March, the UK High Court adjourned  to give the USA an opportunity to file fresh diplomatic assurances. The UK court will reconsider Julian Assange’s permission to appeal his extradition to the USA on 20 May 2024.

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Speech by Brazil President Lula at the opening of the 37th African Union Summit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A report from the Government of Brazil on February 17

It is with great joy that I return to Africa for the twenty-first time, once again as President of Brazil, to address the leaders of the African Union. I come to reaffirm the partnership and bond between our country and our people and the sister continent.


Lula and Africa

The African struggle has a lot in common with the challenges faced by Brazil. More than half of the 200 million Brazilian citizens recognize themselves as Afro-descendants. We, Africans and Brazilians, must chart our own paths within the emerging world order.

We must create a new global governance that is capable of facing the challenges of our time.

Minimal State theories are no longer applicable. Planning agricultural and industrial development has once again become part of public policies in all sectors.

Energy and digital transitions require government leverage and guidance.

Attempts to restore a global system based on ideological blocs are not applicable in the real world. Multipolarity is an inexorable and welcome component in the 21st century. Consolidation of BRICS as the world’s most important arena for the articulation of emerging countries is an undeniable advance.

Without the participation of developing countries, it will not be possible to open any new cycle of global expansion — combining growth, environmental preservation and reduced inequality and with increased freedoms.

The Global South is becoming an unavoidable part of the solution to the main crises that afflict this planet.

These crises arise from a model that concentrates wealth, and which mainly affects the poorest — and, among these, immigrants. The alternative to the ills of neoliberal globalization will not come from the racist and xenophobic far right. Development cannot be the privilege of a few.

Only an inclusive social project will allow us to establish prosperous, free, democratic, and sovereign societies. There will be no stability or democracy if hunger and unemployment remain.

The time is ripe to revive the best humanist traditions of the great leaders of African decolonization.

Being a humanist today means condemning the attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and demanding the immediate release of all hostages. Being a humanist also demands rejecting Israel’s disproportionate response, which has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza—the vast majority of them women and children—and caused the forced displacement of over 80% of the population.

The solution to this crisis will only last if we move quickly towards the creation of a Palestinian State that is also recognized as a full member of the United Nations—a strengthened UN that harbors a more representative Security Council, in which there are no countries with veto power, and which includes permanent members from Africa and Latin America. For two years now, the war in Ukraine has exposed the Council’s paralysis. Beyond the tragic loss of life, its consequences are also being felt around the world in food and fertilizer prices.

There will be no military solution to this conflict. The time has come for politics and diplomacy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Africa—with its 1 billion 500 million inhabitants and its immense and rich territory—has enormous possibilities for the future. Brazil wants to grow alongside Africa, but never dictating any paths.

The Brazilian people are recovering their political and economic sovereignty. We are adopting an ecological transformation project which will allow us to take a historic leap forward. We are reviving our democracy and making it increasingly participatory.

Through Bolsa Família and other successful public policies, we will once again leave the hunger map and lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty.

Talking about “Inclusive Education”—this Summit’s main topic—is talking about the future. Around the world, almost 250 million children do not attend school. In Brazil we are implementing full-time schools, as well as granting a benefit to the poorest high school students as a way of reducing the number of school dropouts.

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(Click here for the Portuguese version of this article)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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I am proud to say that thousands of African citizens have concluded their studies in Brazil—but we are going to do even more. We are going to increase the number of scholarships we offer so as to welcome African students to our public higher education institutions.

We are willing to develop educational programs in Africa, and to promote intense exchange of teachers and researchers. Let us collaborate so that Africa may become independent in its food and clean energy production.

Africa harbors 400 million hectares spread across over 25 countries which have the potential to make this continent one of the great breadbaskets of the world, enabling policies to combat hunger and produce biofuels.

I also want to extend our partnership to the health sector. There is much to learn from both of our health strategies, and from the possibility of structuring robust and broad-reaching public systems.

We will work alongside the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to tackle neglected tropical diseases. We will aim to expand access to medicines, avoiding repetition of the vaccine “apartheid” that we saw in COVID-19.

Taking care of the health of the planet is also our priority. The imperative of protecting the world’s two largest tropical rainforests—in the Amazon and the Congo basins—makes us protagonists in the climate agenda.

Current international instruments are insufficient to effectively reward the protection of forests, their biodiversity and the people who live in them, take care of them, and depend on them.

By recovering degraded areas, we can create a true green belt to protect forests in the Global South. Alongside African partners, Brazil wants to develop and construct a family of satellites to monitor deforestation.

To carry all this out, we are going to create a cooperation outpost with the African Union in sectors such as agricultural research, health, education, environment, and science and technology.

Our diplomatic representation in Addis Ababa will soon include employees from government bodies such as the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, EMBRAPA and FIOCRUZ—our research and development bodies in agriculture and health.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our paths will meet again at the G20 Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, and at COP 30, in Belém. The presence of the African Union as a full member of the G20 will be of great value—but including more countries from the continent as full members is still also necessary. We have common agendas to defend.

It is unacceptable that a world capable of generating wealth in the order of USD 100 trillion dollars per year still harbors the hunger of more than 735 million people. We are creating the Global Alliance against Hunger at the G20 so as to promote a set of public policies and mobilize resources to finance them.

Around 60 countries—many of them in Africa—are coming close to financial insolvency, allocating more resources to paying external debt than to education or health. This reflects the obsolete nature of financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, which often worsen crises that they should be resolving.

Solutions to transform unfair and unpayable debts into concrete assets—such as highways, railways, hydroelectric plants, wind and solar energy parks, green hydrogen production and energy transmission networks—must be sought after. We need to follow the evolution of new technologies step by step.

Artificial Intelligence cannot be monopolized by a few countries and companies—and may also become fertile ground for hate speech and misinformation, as well as cause unemployment and reinforce racial and gender biases which accentuate injustice and discrimination.

Brazil is going to promote G20 interaction with the High-Level Panel created by the UN Secretary-General to support discussions on the Global Digital Compact.

In this way, we hope to contribute to effective and multilateral governance in Artificial Intelligence that fully incorporates the interests of the Global South.

My friends,
I want to close by saying that there is no Global South without Africa.

Resuming Brazil’s rapprochement with Africa means recovering historical ties and contributing to the construction of a new, more just and supportive world order. Above all, it allows us to join forces in overcoming the challenges that lie ahead.

Thank you very much.

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Mary Robinson key note at the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 148th Assembly (April 6)

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

Text transcribed from video on You Tube

Excellencies, distinguished delegates to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, it’s an honour to address the general debate of your 148th Assembly. I’m speaking to you  as Chair of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela who work for peace, human rights and a sustainable planet. I’m also speaking as a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former President of my own country, Ireland and a former Senator.


Video of speech

I served for 20 years in the Upper House of the Irish Parliament and in all these roles  and all throughout my career, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to engage with the IPU. Parliaments play an indispensable role in building bridges for peace and understanding and consensus  on how to tackle shared challenges. This role is particularly valuable today  in an era of increasing social polarisation and geopolitical tensions.

The IPU plays a critical role as a forum where parliamentarians can come together,  exchange experiences and discuss the challenges of the hour, something I learned from attending  IPU events during my time in the Irish Senate in the 1970s and 80s and it has been a privilege  to be invited to address the Assembly on a number of occasions since. Today I’m happy to hear that the Assembly will also focus on multilateralism in this year when the world is gathering at the upcoming Summit of the Future convened by the UN Secretary-General to chart a new  pathway forward for international cooperation. It’s no exaggeration to say today that we are at  a moment of crisis in multilateralism.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Our world faces existential threats that can only be tackled collectively from the climate and nature crisis and pandemics to nuclear weapons and the risks  of unregulated artificial intelligence. But at precisely the moment when cooperation is critical,  geopolitical tensions and confrontations are rising and too much decision-making is governed  by short-term self-interested calculations. While the COP28 summit in Dubai last December  did make some progress producing the first text that directly recognized the need to move away  from fossil fuels, we remain in a climate and nature emergency.

Each month since June  last year has seen a new temperature high and the pathway we are on is unsustainable. Yet leaders are still not acting at the pace and scale required. We’re four years on from the  onset of COVID-19, a global pandemic that cost the lives of millions and exacerbated inequality  between and within nations.

But we are struggling to form consensus on a pandemic accord that would  help prevent and better prepare the world for future pandemics. 55 years after the treaty onthe non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear powers have not met their commitment to reduce  their arsenals. Instead, the few remaining nuclear agreements mitigating catastrophic risk are  expiring and we face a renewed nuclear arms race with some leaders openly threatening to use  nuclear weapons in current conflicts.

We see a proliferation of conflicts including Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine and Israel’s disproportionate response to the horrific  October attacks by Hamas. The multilateral international peace and security architecture, most notably the UN Security Council, appears completely ill-equipped to deal with these crises. While conflicts elsewhere, from Myanmar to Sudan, are not getting the attention that they need.

It’s against this backdrop that The Elders are calling for long-view leadership to tackle existential threats and to build a more resilient and equal society. Long-view leadership means showing the determination to resolve intractable problems, not just manage them. The wisdom to make decisions based on scientific evidence and reason and the humility to listen to all of those affected.

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United States: Cornel West on His 2024 Presidential Bid

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

Excerpts from video interview by C-Span on April 2

2024 Independent presidential candidate Cornel West talked about his candidacy, platform, and views on U.S. politics today.

Pedro Echevarria

If you had to boil down your candidacy to a few sentences what would you tell people?

Cornel West

It would be based on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and Fannie Lou Hamer, which is trying to get beyond all the lies, all the revenge. I try to talk about truth, justice and love in a context where it seems it is very, very difficult to have any moment of substantive morality, where politics has become legalized corruption and normalized bribery, where they will say anything to stay in office and where there is no genuine concern for people, let alone poor people, working people, people who have been subjugated and degraded.  This is not just empty moral rhetoric. If we give up on serious commitment to public life and citizens being human beings, as opposed to being objects to be manipulated. then the country is over, the American project as we have understood it will be over. I want to raise my voice to mobilize people and get people to see that Trump is leading us toward second civil war and Biden is leading us to a third world war. We’ve got to do better than those two as an option at this particular moment of history.

Video of interview

Pedro Echevarria

Do you have a political background? And what do you think about electing someone to office without a political background?

Cornel West

Well, I think what we need, Brother, is we need new persons, new characters and new visions injected into our system.  My political background is that I have been fighting for poor and working people for 55 years. I’ve worked with a number of different candidates. Sometimes they were within the Democratic party, sometimes they have been outside. More and more they have been outside, because the Democratic party, itself, has succumbed to capture by Wall Street and the Pentagon, by the war profiteers, on the one hand, and the money-makers, on the other. The Republican party has given up for a long time, captured by big money.  It’s true that people look at me and say, “Well, you have never been an elected official.” That’s exactly right. I have been an active citizen trying to ensure that truth and justice can procure a place in American politics and that is very much what i would do as president. i would set a completely different tone, a completely different vibe coming from the White House. And that would be “working people you are at the center of public policy. not Wall Street, not looking at the stock market but rather Main Street and looking at access to health care, access to quality education, access to safe communities, access to housing as a human right just like health care is a human right. we have to push back these predators that have been pushing out so many poor and working people when it comes to housing a whole host of other rights.

Pedro Echevarria

On your website one of the things you advocate for is a wealth tax on all billionaire holdings and transactions, a $27 minimum wage and establish a federal universal basic income commission.  As far as the wealth tax is concerned, I know that President Biden has called for increased taxes on the wealthy, but what is your definition of a wealth tax? How would that work?

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Cornel West

Well, a wealth tax, really, is something that is very difficult to enforce. as much as i would put it on paper, we know that the wealthy are so clever with their lawyers and create loopholes. I am much more concerned about disinvesting from the military. 62 cents for every one dollar in the discretionary budget in Washington goes to the military.  We have 800 military units around the world and special operations in 130 countries. We have to cut back massively on military spending and put it directly into universal basic income.  Alaska was the first state to endorse me and the Aurora Party, in part because we agreed there should be a basic universal income, a social net below which people cannot fall. It’s so much easier to disinvest from the military and reinvest directly into satisfying basic social needs than to follow through on a wealth tax, because we can have some of the most marvelous wealth taxes on paper and you can’t execute it because these loopholes are still there and the lawyers are hired, and there’s tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.  You know the story, how difficult it is to follow through. Yes, I do support that on paper, but in terms of actually gaining resources for poor and working people we need to support a strong minimum wage and strong wing of the trade union movement as well as the fight for benefits and contribute to a robust public life in the country, we have to engage in a significant disinvestment of the military into satisfying basic social needs of our citizens. 

I go to schools all the time and I see more policemen in elementary schools than nurses and counselors.  Can you imagine if that was the case when we went to school? Good God Almighty, these are precious students, in the hood, in the barrios, the reservations, poor whites.  What kind of future are we talking about with that militarized context? I was just at Atlanta, where we see the militarization, not just of the police, but any security officer. Why? Because as the society begins to decay we appeal to the military and we end up with more and more mass shootings and militaristic ways of dealing with conflict. That is the sign of a country going under.  We’ve got to fight back as countervailing forces against organized greed and institutionalized hatred and routinized indifference to the most vulnerable. The 25th chapter of Matthew is a fundamental lens of which to view the world. What you do to prisoners, poor, the elderfly, the children, the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the motherless. that is the criteria. . . .

Pedro Echevarria

Dr. West, I want to address a couple of things on your platform, making news even as we are talking today: one step to codify abortion rights as a constitutional mandate and to nationalize the health care industry, including the pharmaceutical industry.  Why do you think that is necessary?

Cornel West

We have to have a fundamental commitment to women having control over their bodies. We know that if there were a debate and a conversation over abortion in men and men were the only ones who gave birth there would be a very different conversation. Let’s be honest about the patriarchal context of the discussion over abortion. Abortion is in many ways a difficult and delicate issue but we have to have a sensitivity to the woman and the child. I am firmly committed to women having control over the reproductive rights, and I am firmly committed to taking the greed out of our health system. I don’t know why we can’t have the same kind of health care system that the congress has, that the military has. They call that single payer because those are the offices tied to national security. i believe that health care like poverty and the human right to housing those are issues of national security too.  The pharmaceutical companies and medical systems have been obsessed with profits and makes it difficult to satisfy the fundamental basic needs of the most vulnerable, and that is why i am committed to ensuring that every citizen has access to quality health care, quality education, safe neighborhoods with communities having oversight over the police . . .

Pedro Echevarria

How much ballot access do you have?

Cornel West

We began with Alaska with the Aurora Party, and then we moved to the United Citizens Party in South Carolina. Very interesting because that was the party that brother Cliburn helped to found in the 60’s and 70’s. I always applaud his early years, and that is the party that endosed me. I’m on the ballot in Utah. on the ballot in Oregon with the Progressive Party. We are on the move. We have low hanging fruits in terms of states where we’re able to get on the ballot once I make the announcement of a Vice-President candidate and they open up their particular dates to get on the ballot.  We are very much on the move and trying to make sure that truth, justice and love has a place in a moment of overwhelming barbarity.

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United States: Exclusive interview: Jill Stein discusses Green Party goals and local issues on Racine visit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article by Denise Lockwood from the Racine Country Eye

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, spoke at the Dekoven Center in Racine (Wiscosin) on Tuesday (March 12) as part of her third bid for the White House, bringing attention to various national and local issues.

Stein’s campaign focuses on the Green Party’s core principles, which include environmental sustainability, social justice and a commitment to nonviolence. The party positions itself as an alternative to the two dominant political parties in the United States.

The Green Party, known for its advocacy for environmental issues, emphasizes the need for sustainable energy, strong social programs and a reduced military budget. It champions grassroots democracy and aims to counter corporate political influence, offering voters an alternative that stresses ecological wisdom, social justice and nonviolent solutions.

During her visit, Stein spoke with Racine County Eye reporter Denise Lockwood about the heightened engagement in the current election cycle, indicating a shift in public sentiment.

“People are like, shall we say, are much more engaged in this election than I’ve seen before,” Stein said.

In her previous presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, Stein, originally from Lexington, Mass., has consistently advocated for the Green Party’s ideals. Trained as a physician at Harvard Medical School, Stein’s political transition was driven by her growing concern for the connection between public health and environmental issues.

She also addressed the financial struggles of many Americans, highlighting the burdens of debt.

“What we’re hearing now is like what we’ve learned over the last decade, but the volume is way turned up,” she stated, drawing attention to the pressing issues of college and medical debt and their broader implications for ordinary citizens’ financial stability.

Stein discusses local issues

In discussing local issues, Stein focused on concerns specific to Racine and similar communities, such as housing challenges, gang violence, and childhood lead poisoning. As a physician, she expressed particular concern about Wisconsin’s high rates of lead poisoning and the broader public health implications. Stein linked these issues to larger systemic problems, including racial disparities and inadequate federal housing policies.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

A central component of Stein’s platform is the Green New Deal, which proposes an ambitious plan to address economic, environmental, and social challenges simultaneously.

“Our program intends to eliminate poverty. And number two, ensure that racial justice is a major dimension of our Green New Deal, a major economic redevelopment program,” Stein explained, illustrating her vision for an integrated approach to these intertwined issues.

On immigration, Stein criticized U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that it has contributed to the current migrant crisis. She advocated for comprehensive reforms, including addressing climate change and stabilizing countries economically and politically to reduce the necessity of forced migration.

Stein also discussed the potential for reallocating resources currently directed toward military expenditures.

“We are spending $12,000 this year maintaining forever wars in the Forever War Machine—$12,000 per household—in our tax base,” she claimed, suggesting that these funds could be more effectively used to address domestic issues.

Campaign strategy

Stein’s campaign’s financial strategy, which focuses on smaller donations, reflects a grassroots approach distinct from her competitors.

“We do have small donations coming in. We can do things for far less,” she shared, highlighting the campaign’s reliance on public support rather than large donors.

Stein’s visit also provided insights into the changing political landscape in Wisconsin, a state known for its fluctuating political allegiances. The potential impact of new political groups and the adoption of ranked-choice voting was discussed, indicating possible significant shifts in future elections.

She concluded her visit by emphasizing the need for broader political choices, suggesting that many Americans seek a system that more effectively serves their needs.

“The American people are clamoring for a fair shot,” she said, summarizing the sentiment that her campaign and the Green Party aim to address.

Following the interview, Stein participated in a community discussion about the Green Party’s platform. We’ll have a story about that discussion later today

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First message to the nation from President Bassirou Diomaye Faye – on the eve of Senegal’s independence day

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A report from The Point, Gambia (translation from the French by CPNN)

My dear compatriots,

Tomorrow, April 4, 2024, we celebrate the 64th anniversary of the independence of our country. To everyone, I extend my warm congratulations. I pay tribute to each and every one of you for your attachment to the cardinal virtues of peace and democracy that underpin our daily experience. The significant peaceful changes that we have just experienced demonstrate, once again, the maturity of our people, the vitality of our democracy and the strength of our institutions. We should all be proud of this great performance. This year again, by divine grace, our national holiday takes place under the sign of spiritual communion, with Easter Holy Week which has just concluded Lent and the month of Ramadan which is drawing to a close.

Given the circumstances, instead of the traditional parade, tomorrow I will preside over a simple and symbolic raising of colors ceremony at the Palais de la République. This evening, as we celebrate our newfound freedom, my thoughts go to our valiant resistance fighters, famous or unknown heroes, who, giving themselves body and soul, defied the odious colonial system and its so-called civilizing mission, to defend the freedom of our people and their values of culture and civilization. I would also like to salute with respect and affection our veterans, who sacrificed their youth far from their families, at the cost of their lives and their freedom.

I pay vibrant tribute to my predecessors, Presidents Senghor, Diouf, Wade and Sall, each of whom made his contribution to the work of national construction. It is on the basis of this legacy that I want to continue with you our collective quest for the Senegal of our dreams.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday honors our Defense and Security Forces.

To you, officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel, who have chosen the risky profession of arms, I reaffirm the recognition of the Nation. I express to you my pride, my support and my complete confidence in your missions in the service of the homeland, peace in Africa and in the world. I salute the memory of our Jambaars who fell on the field of honor and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The State will always stand in solidarity with their families, with care and compassion. The theme of this edition, The Armed Forces at the heart of national cohesion, challenges us with its topicality and relevance. It reminds us that beyond the ceremonial, the national holiday is above all an opportunity for individual and collective introspection on our common desire for a common life.

Our Defense and Security Forces, under the Army-Nation concept, symbolizing the diversity and cohesion of their socio-cultural components, offer us a fine example of what Senegalese living together should be like.

As Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, and guarantor of national unity, I am determined to preserve our living together inherited from our ancestors; because we only have one homeland: Senegal, our common shelter, which we all love, which does not begin with us, and does not end with us.

In this spirit, my role, and I intend to assume it fully, is to reach out to everyone, to bring together, reassure, appease and reconcile, in order to consolidate the peace, security and stability essential to the economic and social development of our dear country. From east to west, from north to south, I hope that our dear Senegal remains united and indivisible, in peace and in harmony with our national motto: One People-One Purpose-One Faith. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children. We owe it to future generations.

This is why our vibrant youth, the beating heart of the nation, will remain at the center of my concerns.

Dear young people of Senegal, I make your dreams, your aspirations, and your legitimate ambitions to succeed in order to be useful to yourselves, your families, your communities and your country my own. Education, career training, employment and entrepreneurship for young people and women remain major challenges to overcome. I will make it a high public policy priority, in consultation with the private sector. To this end, we must revisit existing mechanisms, improve and rationalize them so that they better meet the needs of employment and other income-generating activities for young people.

To encourage job creation, I plan to rely on a strong private sector because it is supported by the STATE. Based on our priority needs, we will work together to endogenize our economy. Of course, the international private sector will have its full role to play. The Senegalese are brave but they are tired and expect solutions from us to combat the high cost of living. The question of the cost of living particularly concerns me and commands my full attention. In the days to come, strong measures will be taken in this direction, after the consultations that I will undertake with the stakeholders concerned.

My dear compatriots, From independence to the present day, our political, institutional and judicial system has experienced many adventures, some happier than others.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Sixty-four years later, the time seems come to me to learn the lessons of our successes and our failures for a more modern, more republican public governance and more respectful of human rights. This is why, after resigning from my position as secretary general of PASTEF-Les Patriotes, to put myself above the fray, I will convene broad consultations with the political class and civil society for :

– Reform of the system electoral in particular;
– Replacement of the CENA by an Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with a strengthening of its operating means and its prerogatives;
– Rationalizatio of the number of political parties, as well as their financing;
– Registration of citizens on the electoral register concomitantly with the issuance of the national identity document

“Moreover, to restore the image of justice, give it the value it deserves and reconcile it with the people in whose name it is rendered, I intend to organize meetings bringing together the professions of the profession (magistrates, lawyers, bailiffs , clerks and other justice officials), university professors and citizens to identify possible solutions to justice problems.

In the quest for a better Senegal for the benefit of all, I intend to establish virtuous governance, based on the ethics of responsibility and accountability. In addition, I will without delay initiate a bold policy of good economic and financial governance through:

– A relentless fight against corruption;
– Criminal repression of tax evasion and illicit financial flows;
– Protection of whistleblowers;
– Fight against the embezzlement of public funds and money laundering;
– Amnesty of nominees and their profit-sharing under the condition of self-denunciation;
– Publication of reports from the IGE, the Court of Auditors and OFNAC.

Likewise, the exploitation of our natural resources, which, according to the constitution, belong to the people, will receive particular attention from my government. Thus, in addition to the already effective posting of mining, oil and gas contracts online, on the EITI Senegal website, I will carry out the disclosure of the effective ownership of extractive companies, in accordance with the EITI Standard, at audit of the mining, gas and oil sector and more sustained protection of local content for the benefit of the national private sector. Furthermore, I would like to tell all our private partners that they are welcome in Senegal.

In accordance with the laws and regulations in force, the rights of the investor will always be protected, as will the interests of the State and the populations.

To our friendly and partner countries, I would like to assure that Senegal remains an open and welcoming country for all.

We will constantly strive to maintain and strengthen good neighborly relations and active solidarity within our community organizations, notably ECOWAS and UEMOA.

Heirs to the pan-Africanist ideal of Cheikh Anta Diop and Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity, we remain firmly committed to the construction of African integration and the achievement of the objectives of the Zone. of African continental free trade.

Our foreign partners from all walks of life are of equal dignity to us. We owe everyone respect and consideration. And we ask for respect and consideration from everyone. We will remain committed to fairer and more inclusive global governance, respecting the equal dignity of the values of cultures and civilizations.

My dear compatriots,

The national holiday, symbol of our sovereignty, reminds us that we are alone in the face of our destiny, and that no one will do for us what we are not willing to do for ourselves. We have the historical responsibility to consolidate our sovereignty by breaking the chains of economic dependence through the permanent cult of work and results. In this spirit, the Administration must act at all levels in a more welcoming and more efficient manner for users of the public service. We must ban from our practices undue procedures and formalities which alter the effectiveness of the State.

With this objective, we intend to invest massively in the digitalization of services and administrative procedures. Likewise, there is an urgent need to gain our food sovereignty by investing more and better in agriculture, fishing and breeding, the three nourishing breasts of our country.

I am particularly keen to ensure that the substantial subsidies spent each year in the agricultural campaign benefit real producers and not intermediary players.

Ultimately, my dear compatriots, the independence that we celebrate tomorrow is certainly a festive event, but also and above all a test of resilience and greatness for the nation. Our merit and our honor is to pass the test, displaying resolute confidence in ourselves, to overcome our fears and our doubts, to overcome the obstacles before us, and to continue together our united march towards our common destiny, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. This is what I invite you to do, in the communion of hearts and minds. Long live Senegal, in peace and security, united, free and prosperous! 

Good evening and happy Independence Day.

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Peace Wave 2024

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Announcement from World Beyond War

International Peace Bureau  and World BEYOND War  will hold the third-annual 24-hour peacewave on June 22-23, 2024. This will be a 24-hour-long Zoom featuring live peace actions in the streets and squares of the world, moving around the globe with the sun. There will be a live Q&A section on Zoom for the last 10 minutes of each hour

This Peace Wave will happen during the RIMPAC war rehearsals in the Pacific and just prior to protests of NATO’s meeting in Washington in July.



The Peace Wave supports work for global peace and opposes military buildup including alliances like NATO, its partnerships around the globe, and related alliances such as AUKUS.



The peace wave will visit dozens of locations around the globe and include rallies, concerts, production of artworks, blood drives, installation of peace poles, dances, speeches, and public demonstrations of all variety.


Watch all 24 hours below in twelve 2-hour parts:

Part 1
(13:00 to 15:00 UTC):
Part 01.1: (13:00 to 14:00 UTC) UK, Ireland, Portugal (European)
Part 01.2: (14:00 to 15:00 UTC) Ghana, Liberia, Morocco, DR Congo, Cameroon, Angola

Part 2
(15:00 to 17:00 UTC): South America / América del Sur – Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela

Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

(Continued from left column)

Part 3
(17:00 to 19:00 UTC): USA and Canada (Eastern Time Zone)

Part 4
(19:00 to 21:00 UTC): Mexico and Central America

Part 5
(21:00 to 23:00 UTC): USA and Canada (Pacific and Mountain Time Zone)

Part 6
(23:00 to 01:00 UTC): USA (Alaska and Hawaii) and Guam

Part 7
(01:00 to 03:00 UTC): Australia, New Zealand

Part 8
(03:00 to 05:00 UTC): Japan and South Korea

Part 9
(05:00 to 07:00 UTC): Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar

Part 10
(07:00 to 09:00 UTC): Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan

Part 11
(09:00 to 11:00 UTC):
Part 11.1: (09:00 to 09:45 UTC) Afghanistan, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan
Part 11.2: (09:45 to 10:30 UTC) Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Syria
Part 11.3: (10:30 to 11:00 UTC) East Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Kenya, S. Africa)

Part 12
(11:00 to 13:00 UTC):
Part 12.1: (11:00 to 12:00 UTC) Central Europe and Scandinavia
Part 12.2: (12:00 to 13:00 UTC) Ukraine, Russia and Baltic States

(Editor’s note: Zoom videos from the 2023 Peace Wave are available on this website )

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France: Speech by Jean-Luc Melanchon on the force of action for peace

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

Text transcribed from the video of the speech by Melanchon (transcribed and translated by CPNN)

My friends! “La force!” The force makes force. It’s a lesson from the trade unions. The force you see gathered here did not fall from the sky, was not granted as a favour. It was conquered by the commitment of free conscience that decided to break with all the other organised frameworks and make something new. That force is capable of raising the clamour that you have just heard here, which allows us to regain our energy. (. . .) That force is capable of engaging the new generation. That force is the people. We are the forward detachment. That force is a collective intelligence. Yes, we love electoral campaigns, because they suddenly make us consciously engaged
(. . . )


(Click on photo to enlarge)

We advance to meet our sovereign that is universal suffrage. We advance to meet that magical moment which moves every democratic conscience, every republican conscience, in the secret of the voting booth, the magnificent magic where no one has less power than another person because of their wealth. Where no one has less power than another person because of their religion or skin colour.

The right to vote ! Magnificent ! The free community, the free heart, the free conscience, in equality, in liberty, in fraternity. The right to vote is not only a citizen’s duty, it’s a dignity. And for all that, it is a power. A terrible power! A power that all the rulers fear because of the strength it gives to the most humble among us. That power that allows us to say with Angela Davis: “I will no longer accept. I will not accept the things that I could not change. I will change the things that I can no longer accept. ”
(. . .)
This is the first time that your ballot makes you the arm of Jean Jaures, as it started from his chest: if you do not want war, vote Insoumis!
(. . .)
We have passed from a Europe of social programs to a Europe of permanent austerity, of massive unemployment, of debt accumulated in its countries without any help from the Central European Bank which holds a large part of it and which increases interest rates so that the people, once again, must suffer even more.

At that time they told us at every election time, when there was the Soviet Union, that we were threatened by the tanks of the Red Army which were 48 hours from Paris. Now, the Union is no longer Soviet, it is content to be Russian, but the tanks are still there, it seems, and once again they are appearing in the electoral program.

So we have moved from the Europe of peace at the time of the Soviet Union to the Europe of war today and the war economy. This is what they have done to the great dream that the founding fathers had bequeathed to them. The question is not what we are going to do with this Europe, but how the people will be able to emerge from the permanent economic crisis in this Europe, from the logic of exploitation as the only adjustment variable to lower the price of labor. How will people be able to emerge from an ecological crisis caused and amplified by the European Union, which places no limits on the use of pesticides, which is not interested in the disastrous consequences for public health and which is incapable of holding its objectives in relation to climate change. Finally, a Europe incapable of making its mark in the world’s geopolitical crisis. This is the bottom line. This is the summary of what we have to do.

The world order is changing. The dominant power of the previous period, a power that believed for a time that it was the only one in the world, the United States of America, is today faltering, while another power is rising, what is called, unfairly but finally, let’s use this term, the Global South. It is the BRICS that are rising. They call us the “Westerners”. It seems that they mean us, but we, the French, are not so much “Westerners” as that, for we are present on every continent in the world. So please count us in a separate category: universalist, creolized, French.

Peace is at stake when the geopolitical order changes, because those who dominate want to continue to dominate and those who would like to dominate strive to find their place in a new domination. So more than ever, we must be the France aligned with the non-aligned. If we want to be useful, we must be France in the exclusive service of peace. If we want to be useful to universal humanity.

As usual we hear the braying of those who return with the memory of their own turpitude, they who capitulated as it was Munich, come to reproach us for saying that it is useless to expose ourselves to a war on the continent. Don’t think this is a threat in a vacuum! War results from the conditions that make it possible and necessary for some, but still war results from the inability of leaders to control their engagements. It was the assassination of an archduke that began the First World War. Today we are closer to the political conditions of the First War than those of the Second, when it was just and legitimate to arm ourselves to defeat the Nazis.

But this time it is a strange situation for France, a nuclear power, to be governed by people who are capable in a Council of Ministers of talking about an incident at Sciences Po and sending the Prime Minister there to change the situation and making a big deal out of something that never happened. But at least we can say that it produced something magnificent. Thirty-three students said “We are Jewish, and we will not allow our Jewishness to be used to suppress Palestinian rights.” Thank you young people, thank you a thousand times, thank you a million times, because this is the France that does not want its children to be sorted by their religion but only distinguished by their debate and their opinions.

To vote for the Insoumis is to vote for the unity of our republic, a vote that does not point the finger at any one religion or skin color.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

We must open the path to peace. Maybe some of you say that this path, yes, yes, well, okay, we understand, it is peace, but it does not exist, Mr. Mélenchon, the proof is that there is a war. Well, when there is a war, there is only one thing to do, and that is to stop it. And the question to ask is whether it is possible. Well all the elements are there.

For example, in Gaza, it is not true that we cannot stop the war and the massacre. It would be enough for the United States of America to stop supplying Mr. Netanyahu’s government with weapons. It would be enough for France to stop doing it. It would be enough for the European Union with the deputies you are electing to be there to say STOP! Enough! We are breaking the coalition and cooperation contract with Israel! We demand the judgment of war criminals, ALL war criminals, because we do not distinguish between them.

Regarding Gaza we are not proposing any other utopia than this: apply the international law that you voted for. Cease fire immediately and permanently! Implementation of UN resolutions. End of colonization! What’s extraordinary about that? It’s the same thing that we’ve been repeating for so many years. But then if we repeat it for so many years we tell them, at least respect the law, at least the international law that you have established!

The same goes for Ukraine. If we are not there to say a path exists, who is going to do it? There are people who will tell us “we have to arm ourselves, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that!” Do what? Leading us straight to war? For what result? Only one result, massive destruction, death, death, more death!

War can produce nothing else except deaths, victims, desolation, destruction! War is the failure of the human condition. War is the failure of civilization. War! War will never produce anything other than war again! Always war, more war!

With regard to Ukraine peace is possible on the condition that we understand one thing, that fiinally there can be no other outcome than a situation where there is no neither victor nor vanquished. Peace must give each of the two parties mutual guarantees.

I heard a journalist choke up, “Mélenchon said mutual guarantees!” This ignorant person did not know that the word had been used by Mr. Macron himself ! The guarantees must be mutual between whom? The fighters, of course. Obviously the guarantees are mutual.

Once this principle has been established, then it is obviously necessary to enter the path of peace through concrete measures which suit both parties, such as the protection of nuclear power plants, which would lead instantly to the creation of demilitarized zones. The Ukrainian Parliament has requested this guarantee,, and the Russians have not said they are opposed to it.

And once we enter into this logic, then we enter into the logic of the ceasefire! And if there is a ceasefire, then we can discuss border security. Now little by little I see them coming to understand; it always takes them time to admit that we are right. With regard to a conference for border security, there is no need to invent structures. They already exist through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Its conference on security in Europe was concluded in 1975, that is to say in the middle of the Cold War between two blocs that were preparing, if necessary, to destroy the world since they had the possibility of destroying it 16 or 17 times, which makes least 16 or 15 times too many.

A security conference obviously would lead to negotiations and from what President Macron told to Manuel Bompard, the Russians are ready for a ceasefire, but it’s to replenish their potential. Maybe so, but that’s what it takes. And when we start the ceasefire, well we don’t have to think about resuming the war.

Secondly, he told Manuel Bompard that President Zelensky was ready and knew that in the end he would have to accept a consultation of the populations affected by the borders. It’s clear from simple common sense that what was true before the war is perhaps no longer true now that the war has taken place, and that some who were originally on one side may now feel more on the other.

As soon as we agree to the ceasefire, as soon as we agree to the referendum of the populations concerned, as soon as we agree to demilitarize everything surrounding the nuclear reactors nuclear, then what is the obstacle to peace?

France may object that Mr. Putin is not a reliable interlocutor. But the effort must still be made. It must be brought before public opinion.

Threatening to send troops, saying that there are no limits, mentioning France’s nuclear capacity and claiming to extend it to all the nations of Europe, this is absurd ! Imagine a button which gives access to the use of the nuclear bomb, with 28 fingers on it! What is the meaning of such an idea? None! Whom is it supposed to frighten? The supposed adversary, thereby forcing him into a situation of response?

This is how the president has managed to create an indescribable mess, already with his own allies, but also with the adversaries because we already have Putin’s response. As for Mr. Putin, of course he is a dangerous head of state because he is a head of state involved in the question of peace and war! He therefore does in his domain what he believes to be his duty just as we ourselves do what we believe to be our duty.

We must talk peace! We must vote for peace! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! That is our vote! Peace in Gaza! Recognition of the State of Palestine! Punishment of war criminals! Peace in Ukraine. PEACE! That’s why we have to vote ! It’s the vote that gives us force.
(…)
To conclude, I cite “Le Petit Prince,” that I suppose many of you have read. This is a citation for you. Listen carefully and reflect on it, because it is profound. “You see, in life there is no solution. There is only the forces on march. You must create them, and then the solutions will follow.” “Bon courage!”

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