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As explained in our Mission Statement: TRIUNE members seek to discover not only the root causes of the suffering, pain and injustices which continue to plague the world, but also the reasons for humanity’s seeming inability to end these problems. We work to abolish suffering, while educating others about ways to help advance the human race in its spiritual development, bringing it into an age of Light.

On this page you will find concrete ways to take actions that benefit humanity, our animal brethren, the environment and more. Here we will feature free, simple actions in which you can participate to help bring about positive change. If you have a suggestion for an action which you would like us to post, please feel free to e-mail us the information.

 

Preventing the Expansion of the Gaza Conflict: Are Peace Brigades a Possibility?

by René Wadlow, Association of World Citizens

Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, has been again in the Middle East working to prevent the violence of the Gaza Strip of spreading to much of the area.  The Gaza Strip conflict has already spread to the West Bank with increased violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinian inhabitants.  There is increased violence along the frontier of Lebanon with the activities of the armed faction Hezbollah and the displacement of Israeli villages.  Negotiations in good faith seem far off, and political speeches grow more conflictual.  Could there be a role for unarmed, non-governmental peace brigades to monitor frontiers and lessen tensions?

One possibility, inspired by the efforts of Shanti Sena (Peace Army) developed by followers of Mahatma Gandhi in India to deal with Hindu-Muslim violence is to place some non-governmental teams on the frontier between antagonists in order to provide an opportunity for all parties to "cool off" and negotiate.

One such effort in which I was directly involved was an effort to place a peace team on the Nicaraguan-Honduras frontier in 1981. At the time, it was thought that the 400 strong U.S. troops stationed in Honduras might cross the frontier to attack the Sandinista-leftist government in Nicaragua or to help actively the anti-Sandinista "Contras" to do so.  A group of persons associated with the Santa Cruz Resource Center for Nonviolence in California and affiliated to the organization Peace Brigades International were able to put a team together and move to the Nicaragua-Honduras frontier on short notice.  The group called itself "The Jalapa Brigade" after the small Nicaraguan city near the Honduran frontier where it was posted.

When the Jalapa Brigade was being put into place, the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United Nations in Geneva was a former student of mine, and his brother, also a former student of mine, was the legal advisor to the President of Nicaragua.  In fact, when the team arrived, Daniel Ortega, the President, introduced the team as "Friends of Humanity."

Through the Ambassador, I was able to inform all the Central American Missions to the U.N. as to the aims and role of the Peace Brigade.  In the end, the U.S. military did not cross the frontier.  Perhaps it never intended to do so. It may also have been that the interposition of U.S. citizens with good organizational contacts helped to weigh in the U.S. military decision-making process.  When the team left, the leader of the Protestant "Evangelical Committee for Development Aid" said "The proof of your triumph lies in the fact that no attacks were made while you were in the Jalapa area."

There have been other such interposition efforts.  One was the Gulf Peace Team created at the time of the 1990 Iraqi annexation of Kuwait.  The aim of the 73-member Peace Team was to be an "international multi-cultural team working for peace and opposing any form of armed aggression by setting up one or more international peace camps between the opposing armed forces.  Our object will be to withstand nonviolently any armed aggression by any party to the present Gulf dispute."  However, on 27 January 1991, the peace camp was closed by Iraq because the authorities had "decided that the continued presence of the camp was a security risk."

Likewise, a January 2022 proposal of the Association of World Citizens "Ukraine-Donbas-Russian Frontier: Is a Nongovernmental Interposition Peace Team a Possibility?" was followed three weeks later by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Thus the creation of interposition peace teams in the Israel-Palestine conflict would not be easy to create for political and logistic reasons.  There are economic and logistic resources required and, more importantly, there is the need to raise enough volunteers who are mature, culturally sensitive, and analytically-minded to achieve a critical mass that would make a difference in the decision-making of the conflicting parties.  There is also the need to keep the unity of purpose within the teams if they have not worked together before. However, the current situation is very dangerous.  The dangers are widely recognized.  Therefore all forms of conflict reduction need to be explored.

 

WORLD CITIZENS CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE END TO HOSTILITIES BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS AND FOR A GENUINE PEACEBUILDING EFFORT IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens (AWC)

The AWC, a Nongovernmental Organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations (UN) and accredited with the UN Human Rights Council, is deeply alarmed at the latest flare of violence between the armed militias of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Most importantly, we are appalled at the consequences of the deliberate attacks from both sides on the rights of civilians in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Since the attacks launched by its forces in the early morning of October 7, Hamas has been targeting civilians in Israel, even capturing Israeli citizens, both civilians and IDF soldiers, to keep them as hostages. The legitimate cause of a people long deprived of their own land, a cause that even the UN recognizes as internationally legitimate, cannot be served in dignity by such methods that run counter to international law.

The current government of Israel has been constantly pushing the limits of disregard for the same international law, through repeated and insistent statements and practices aiming at systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Within the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel, the current Israeli Government has also sowed the seeds of discord and political strife by trying to lessen the powers of the executive branch and, in so doing, to end Israel’s tradition of democracy with checks and balances.

This misguided conduct has proved harmful to both the Palestinian people and the citizenry of Israel. It is now creating new chaos in the region amounting to, in the very words of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a threat to international peace and security. The situation could get even worse as Hezbollah, notoriously backed by Iran, has now unwisely joined the fight from South Lebanon.

Once more, the rights of civilians in Israel and the Gaza Strip are falling victim to the hatred and violence unleashed by both sides in the absence of a badly needed but constantly denied international effort to tackle the Middle East conflict right from its root causes, including the Palestinian people’s demand for justice and the State of Israel’s need for security.

Consequently, the AWC reiterates its call for an immediate end to hostilities in Israel and the Gaza Strip. We also call for the release of every person, civilian or military, taken hostage by Hamas.

We further urge the international community to finally undertake a genuine peacebuilding effort in Israel and the OPT by addressing the root causes of the conflict and duly acting on the legitimate claim of the Palestinian people for justice and the equally legitimate claim of the Israeli people for security.

There is truly no other option now.

 

Reconciliation in Africa: A Vital Need

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 Feb 2023

René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

3 Feb 2023 – Pope Francis’ Appeal to the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan for reconciliation and forgiveness stresses a vital need to overcome the divisions of the armed conflicts in the two countries.  A million people came to the Kinshasa airport to hear the Pope call for an end to the armed conflicts in the eastern Congo, basically the administrative provinces of North and South Kivu.  The area is huge, about the size of the U.S.A. east of the Mississippi River.  Originally, he had hoped to go to Goma, the major city of eastern Congo, with many refugees from the surrounding area.  However, the security situation was such that the itinerary was modified.  However, his words reached the area.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a large Christian population.  The activity of Christian missionaries was part of the agreement to create the Congo Free State which was the personal property of the King of Belgium before becoming a Belgium colony.  Thus, the Pope’s influence can be real with a fairly strongly developed Catholic Church infrastructure to follow up.

However, the divisions within the country are deep and of long duration.  The divisions have both ethnic and economic roots.  The Congo’s vast mineral and timber riches have drawn in neighboring armies which have joined local insurgencies as well as local commanders of the national army to exploit the mines and to keep miners in near slavery.  The eastern area of Congo has been the scene of fighting at least since 1998 – in part as a result of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994.  In mid-1994, more than one million Rwandan Hutu refugees poured into the Kivus, fleeing the advance of the Tutsi-led Rwandan Front, now become the government of Rwanda led by Paul Kagame.

Many of these Hutu were still armed, among them the “genocidaire” who a couple of months before had killed some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda.  They continued to kill Tutsis living in the Congo, many of whom had migrated there in the 18th century.  As the Rwandan groups created their own militias, so did different Congolese ethnic groups, often drawing on their ethnic brothers who deserted from the Congolese army.  Deserters and ethnic militias combined to rob and burn villages and to rape on a large scale.  Rape as an instrument of war has been widely practiced in eastern Congo.

Systematic rape is a crime which is covered by the mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.  Rape is a violation of international humanitarian law.  Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions prohibits “violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture…outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault, slavery.”

Into this disorder, in 2002, the United Nations sent peacekeepers, the MONUC, currently some 18,000 persons – the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation.  The MONUC mandate has been prolonged with a new Security Council resolution each year that the sponsors hope will be the last.  Each year, there is so little improvement in the security situation that the mandate is continued with little debate and with general indifference of world public opinion.

On paper, the U.N. mandate is clear and comprehensive – to build the political, military, institutional, social and economic structures needed to create a secure environment.  However, there is no effective Congolese administration.  The U.N. troops are not trained to deal with the cultural issues – especially land tenure and land use issues, which are the chief causes of the conflict.  U.N. peacekeepers are effective when there is peace to keep. Today, there are an estimated 120 separate armed militias in action.

What is required today in eastern Congo is not so much more soldiers under U.N. command as reconciliation bridge builders, persons who are able to restore relations among ethnic groups of the area.  Such bridge builders can help to strengthen local efforts at conflict resolution and the restoration of confidence among peoples in conflict. It must be hoped that the Appeals of Pope Francis will provoke creative action on the part of bridge builders.

______________________________________

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues

 

World Citizen Appeal for a Cessation of Hostilities in Ukraine and for Negotiations in Good Faith

By René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

The Association of World Citizens believes that there is a need for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the start of negotiations in good faith. The steady increase of human suffering and the potential for the conflict to spread makes such negotiations an imperative. The Association of World Citizens which has consultative status with the United Nations stresses that the United Nations can play a positive role in negotiating an agreement acceptable to all parties.

On 2 March 2022, the Association of World Citizens made a World Citizen Appeal for upholding international humanitarian law in times of armed conflict highlighting that in most of the violations of international humanitarian law, soldiers and militia members are acting on orders of their commanders.  Thus, the only sure response is an act of conscience to refuse an order to torture, to bomb a medical facility, to shoot a prisoner of war, to harm a child, to rape a woman. Conscience, that inner voice which discerns what is right from wrong and encourages right action is a value on which we can build the defense of international humanitarian law and move toward a law-based world society.

There are long historic and strategic aspects to the current crisis.  Security crises are deeply influenced both by a sense of history and by current perceptions.  Thus the Association of World Citizens encourages the development of a renewed security architecture as was envisaged by the Helsinki Final Act and the creation of the organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

There will be much to do to recreate an environment of trust and confidence that has been weakened by the armed conflict.  Non-governmental organizations can play a positive role. The Association of World Citizens pledges to use its resources of Spirit and its networks in this vital effort.

 

The Role of Conscience and International Humanitarian Law

By René Wadlow / The Association of World Citizens

The invasion by Russian troops into Ukraine has raised in a dramatic way the issue of the respect of international humanitarian law. There have been reports of the use of cluster munitions fired into civilian areas. The Association of World Citizens (AWC) was very active on efforts which led to the convention banning cluster weapons.

Regular military personnel of all countries are theoretically informed of the rules of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and the Protocol Additional adopted in 1977. When the 1949 Geneva Conventions were drafted and adopted, it was possible to spell out in considerable detail rules regarding prisoners of war and the protection of civilians, in particular Common Article 3 (so called because it is found in all four Conventions) provides that “each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: Persons taking no active part in the hostilities…shall in all circumstances be treated humanely without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

The importance of Common Article 3 should not be underestimated. It sets out in straightforward terms important protections that all parties to a conflict must respect. In order to meet the need for additional protection, international humanitarian law has evolved to cover not only international armed conflict but also internal armed conflict. Today, international human rights standards are also considered part of international humanitarian law, thus providing additional protection for vulnerable population groups such as women, children, and minorities.

As situations of internal violence and strife proliferate, abuses committed by non-State actors, such as armed militias, are increasing concerns. Fundamental standards of international humanitarian law are intended to ensure the effective protection of human beings in all situations. The standards are clear. (1)

There are two major weaknesses in the effectiveness of international humanitarian law. The first is that many people do not know that it exists and that they are bound by its norms. Thus, there is an important role for greater promotional activities, the dissemination of information through general education, specific training of the military, outreach to armed militias, and cooperation with a wide range of nongovernmental organizations.

The second weakness is that violations of international humanitarian law are rarely punished. Governments too often tolerate these violations. Few soldiers are tried, or court-martialed, for the violations of international humanitarian law. This weakness is even more true of non-governmental militias and armed groups.

In fact, most violations of international humanitarian law are not actions of individual soldiers or militia members carried away by a sudden rush of anger, fear, a desire of revenge or a sudden sexual urge to rape a woman. Soldiers and militia members violating the norms of international humanitarian law are acting on orders of their commanders.

Thus, the only solid response is an act of conscience to refuse an order of a military or militia higher up and refuse to torture, to bomb a medical facility, to shoot a prisoner, to harm a child, and to rape a woman. Conscience, that inner voice which discerns what is right from wrong and encourages right action is the value on which we can build the defense of international humanitarian law. The defense of conscience to refuse unjust orders is a large task but a crucial action for moving toward a law-based world society.

(1) For useful guides to international humanitarian law see:
D. Schindler and J. Toman, The Laws of Armed Conflicts (Martinus Nihjoff Publishers, 1988)
H. McCoubrey and N.D. White, International Law and Armed Conflicts (Dartmouth Publishing Co., 1992)
Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

 

Urgent Appeal to Halt Violence in the Jerusalem-Gaza Area

from Professor René Wadlow / President of the Association of World Citizens

The Association of World Citizens, devoted to ending armed conflicts through negotiations in good faith, addresses an Urgent Appeal to all parties to halt violence in the Jerusalem-Gaza area. In this highly inflammatory situation, there can be an escalation to the conflict at any point. Violence can lead to ever greater violence and can spread to other areas, an indication of which is the recent violence in the city of Lod.

The Association of World Citizens calls upon all parties to refrain from provocative action. As World Citizen and psychologist Bruno Bettelheim wrote, “Violence is the behavior of someone incapable of imagining other solutions to the problems at hand.” Therefore, the Association of World Citizens calls for creative thinking for new approaches to cooperative and harmonious living together of Israelis and Palestinians.

 

 

Religious tolerance is more important than ever. Please read the following beautiful entry by one of our TRIUNE members and then feel free to duplicate and distribute the religious tolerance cards below. Pledge today to support and promote religious tolerance.

As Many Paths...So Many Faiths

by Heathclyff St. James Deville

"The Truth shall set you free" can only be found in the Temple of God, and we are that "Temple" and the "Kingdom of God" is within each of us. All life-forms share a common denominator. Many folk find their Truth in the more established religions and faiths. Some go to hear the sweet nectar of Truth pour from the lips of a priest or minister. Others sit upon the earth, catching pearls of wisdom as they emanate from the Holy Men or Gurus in front of them. Yet others "go within" to catch the whispers of the small voice within their hearts, gaining inspiration there. Many are the ways available for each Soul to glimpse Truth. Do not fall prey to thinking that another's way is invalid when differing from that which you believe. Just because another does not seek to emulate your way does not make it wrong.

I challenge all to open the door of their hearts and minds, to reflect that we all are One Life, interrelated, each a spark striving to rejoin the Universal Fire. We must learn to develop tolerance. Allow others to worship as each is moved. As long as each individual Soul strives toward at-one-ment with Deity and treats others as he would be treated, then we begin to grow as a real Humanity. From the humble unicellular protozoa to that of man, all is an aspect of Deity. When this is grasped, there can be no room for shunning others on the basis of species, race, color, gender or creed. We are all of the One and the One presides in all.


Download a printable PDF version of the cards.

 


 

 

End Human Trafficking, a Modern-day Slave Trade

by Rene Wadlow, President and Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association of World Citizens

January 11 was in some countries a “National Day of Awareness on Human Trafficking." While awareness is always a first step, it is action that is needed, as was underlined by the Association of World Citizens in a message to the Chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Council. The recent increase in the scope, intensity and sophistication of trafficking of human beings around the world threatens the safety of citizens everywhere and hinders countries in their social, economic and cultural development.

The smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of human beings for prostitution and slave labor have become two of the fastest growing worldwide problems of recent years. From Himalayan villages to Eastern European cities — especially women and girls — are attracted by the prospects of a well-paid job as a domestic servant, waitress or factory worker. Traffickers recruit victims through fake advertisements, mail-order bride catalogs, casual acquaintances and even family members.

However, trafficking in human beings is not confined to the “sex industry." Children are trafficked to work in sweatshops and men to work in the “three D's jobs” — dirty, difficult, and dangerous. The lack of economic, political and social structures providing women with equal job opportunities has also contributed to the feminization of poverty, which in turn has given rise to the feminization of migration, as women leave their homes to look for viable economic solutions. In addition, political instability, militarism, civil unrest, internal armed conflicts and natural catastrophes increase women's vulnerability and can contribute to the development of trafficking.

Trafficking impacts the lives of millions of people — those trafficked and their family members — especially from poorer countries or the poor sections of countries. Trafficking of persons has become a multibillion dollar business and ranks right after the trade in drugs and guns. Trafficking is often an activity of organized crime. In some cases, it is the same organization which deals in drugs, guns and people. In other cases, there is a “division of labor," but the groups are usually in contact.

Thus, drugs, guns, illegal immigration — these form a nightmare vision of the dark side of globalization with untold human costs. Human trafficking affects women, men and children in their deepest being. It strikes at what is most precious in them: their dignity and their value as individuals. Trafficked persons experience painful and traumatizing situations which can be with them for the rest of their lives. From recruitment to exploitation, they lose their identity and desperately struggle against a situation that reduces them to objects.

The Association of World Citizens stresses that the fight against human trafficking must be waged in a global and multidimensional way by the United Nations, regional intergovernmental organizations, by national governments and by non-governmental organizations so that countries of origin, transit and destination develop cooperative strategies and practical action against trade in human beings. One of the foundations of cooperation is mutual trust. When mutual trust is established, cooperation becomes a natural way to act.

As trafficking in people is more often tolerated by the law enforcement agencies than drugs or guns, there has been a shift of criminal organizations toward trafficking in people. 116 governments have signed a UN-promoted 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, Especially Women and Children which entered into force in December, 2003. However, trafficking in persons is often not a priority for national governments. Some countries which are important links in the trade of persons such as India, Pakistan and Japan have not yet signed.

For many governments, trafficking is considered a question of illegal migration, and there is relatively little (in some cases no) consideration of the problems of the individual being trafficked. Human concern for those caught in the web is a prime contribution of non-governmental organizations. Concern for physical and mental health is crucial. There is also an obvious need to deal with the issues which have created these pools of people from which traffickers can draw. The large number of refugees from Iraq — over two million in Jordan and Syria — await better political and economic conditions in Iraq so they can return home.

Thus, one of the aspects of trafficking in which non-governmental organizations can play a crucial role is the psychological healing of the victims. Unfortunately, the victim’s psychological health is often ignored by governments. Victims often suffer a strong psychological shock that disrupts their psychological integrity. The result is a lack of self-esteem after having experienced such traumatizing events. Within the Association of World Citizens, we must not underestimate the difficulties and dangers which exist in the struggle against trafficking in persons nor the hard efforts which are needed for the psychological healing of victims. However, as World Citizens, we have the opportunity of dealing with a crucial world issue.

TAKE ACTION: If you would like the U.N. to address the ending of human trafficking as one of their top priorities, please send a postal letter to the following address:

Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, 2 United Nations Plaza, New York 10017, USA, or send an e-mail via their contact page at http://www.un.org/en/contactus/

 


 

Please download and sign our declaration of unity and synthesis.

You may distribute the following document electronically. However, we strongly encourage you to also distribute hard copies of the document, which you have physically handled yourself. We are able to mentally infuse the actual sheets of paper with our own psychic energy -- the fuel, so to speak, which will power the declaration and impress the individuals who read them. No mechanical procedure is necessary. Rather, we use of the power of our minds and our higher spiritual natures. Simply hold a copy of the declaration in your hands and concentrate upon bringing down from the higher spiritual planes the energies of synthesis. Let the energies enter your being and exit through your hands and into the papers you are holding. Hold in your mind the intention that the energies of unity and synthesis and these pieces of paper themselves are meant solely for the highest spiritual good and the positive development of the human race.

 


 

Declaration of Unity and Synthesis

 

(download a printable PDF version of this declaration)

(Spanish version of the declaration)

 

unity (n.) oneness; agreement

synthesis (n.) the putting together of parts to form a whole

 

I, ________________________________ , citizen of Earth, believe

( your name here )

 

that all Life on this planet exists as one interdependent whole. Understanding this, I declare that it is both my right and my desire to live in peace, unity and synthesis with all other living Beings.

To this end:

  • I will accept and respect all people as my brothers and sisters, equal and loved as children of the Divine Creator and having
  • unique talents and gifts to enrich the world.
  • I will treat Mother Earth and all her creatures with love, respect, gratitude and reverence.
  • I will be a vessel for the energies of peace, unity and synthesis and will extend love to all I meet.
  • I will use my talents in some concrete way to work for the betterment of the entire human race and this living planet which I call my home.

 

(If you have any additions or conditions to this declaration, you may add them here.)

 

Please visit us at www.triuneoflight.org. Direct questions to: info@triuneoflight.org.