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Worldwide Movement To End Violence Gathers Momentum

By Robert J. Burrowes

09 August, 2012

Many people are concerned about wars being fought in various parts of the
world. Others are motivated by images of poverty and starvation locally or
in distant parts of the world. Increasing numbers of people are inclined
to take action in response to the ongoing climate catastrophe. And for
some people, the issue that concerns them is violence against women, or
refugees, or nuclear power, or species extinctions, or the occupation of
Palestine or Tibet, or …

The list of issues is endless. And yet, something connects them all. They
are all manifestations of human violence. But human violence, in itself,
is not an issue about which groups campaign. That is, until now.

On 11 November 2011, a new movement to end human violence was launched
around the world. Simultaneous launches took place in Australia, Malaysia,
the Philippines and the USA. This worldwide movement, which invites
individuals and organisations to sign a pledge to work to end human
violence in all of its manifestations, has already attracted individual
signatories in 40 countries and organisational endorsements in 15

'The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World' was conceived and
launched by three Australians - Anita McKone, Anahata Giri and myself -
based on several decades of research and nonviolent action. Tired of all
of the violence we have experienced, witnessed and resisted throughout our
lives, we decided to prepare and launch the Nonviolence Charter worldwide.

So what is unique about 'The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent
World'? The Nonviolence Charter is an attempt to put the focus on human
violence as the pre-eminent problem faced by our species, to truthfully
identify all of the major manifestations of this violence, and to identify
ways to tackle all of these manifestations of violence in a systematic and
strategic manner. It is an attempt to put the focus on the fundamental
cause – the violence we adults inflict on children – and to stress the
importance of dealing with that cause. (See 'Why Violence?'
http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence) It is an attempt to focus on what you and
I – that is, ordinary people – can do to end human violence and the
Nonviolence Charter invites us to pledge to make that effort. And it is an
attempt to provide a focal point around which we can mobilise with a sense
of shared commitment with people from all over the world.

In essence then, one aim of the Nonviolence Charter is to give every
individual and organisation on planet Earth the chance to deeply consider
where they stand on the fundamental issue of human violence. Will you
publicly declare your commitment to work to end human violence? Or are you
going to leave it to others?

And what, precisely, do you want to do? And with whom? The Charter
includes suggestions for action in a wide variety of areas; for example,
by inviting people to participate in 'The Flame Tree Project to Save Life
on Earth' - http://tinyurl.com/flametree - which is a simple yet
comprehensive strategy for individuals and organisations to deal with the
full range of environmental problems. It also provides an opportunity to
identify and contact others, both locally and internationally, with whom
we can work in locally relevant ways, whatever our preferred focus for
action. In that sense, each participating individual and organisation
becomes part of a worldwide community working to end human violence for
all time.

Since being initiated, the Nonviolence Charter has attracted considerable
support from people in many countries and some of these have notable
records of achievement for peace and justice already. Professor Chandra
Muzaffar, Helen Ng and Nurul Haida Dzulkifli are key figures at the
International Movement for a Just World (JUST) based in Malaysia, Dr Tess
Ramiro heads Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan – Center for Active
Non-Violence at the Pius XII Catholic Centre in the Philippines, and Tom
Shea and Leonard Eiger have lengthy records as effective nonviolent
activists, organisers and networkers at the Ground Zero Center for
Nonviolent Action in the USA.

Tom Shea co-organised the Charter launch in the USA

Other signatories include 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Nobel
Peace Prize nominees such as nonviolent activists Kathy Kelly (USA),
Father John Dear (USA) and Angie Zelter (UK); significant community
leaders such as Ade Adenekan of the Pan-African Reconciliation Centre in
Nigeria; the prominent human rights lawyer and consultant, Salma Yusuf, in
Sri Lanka; religious figures such as Rev. Brian Burch of Canada and Rev.
Nathaniel W. Pierce of the USA; prominent nonviolent activists like S.
Brian Willson (USA); anti-war author/activist David Swanson (USA); as well
as professors including Glenn D. Paige, founder of the Center for Global
Nonkilling in the USA; Dietrich Fischer, Academic Director of the World
Peace Academy in Switzerland; Raafat Misak, professor of desert
geomorphology and head of the Kuwait Campaign to Ban Landmines in Kuwait;
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Chairperson of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochment
between People in Palestine; Bradley Olson and Marc Pilisuk of the Program
on Violence, War, and their Alternatives with Psychologists for Social
Responsibility in the USA; and Kevin P. Clements and Richard Jackson,
Director and Director of Research respectively at the The National Centre
for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

How long will this worldwide campaign take? It will undoubtedly take many
years: ending human violence is no easy task. But the alternative - to
tolerate human violence until we precipitate our own extinction – is,
surely, unthinkable.

The Nonviolence Charter acknowledges our many differences, including the
different issues on which we choose to work. But it also offers us a
chance to see the unity of our overarching aim within this diversity.
Hence, whatever our differences, we are given the chance to see that
ending human violence is our compelling and unifying dream.

Would you like to consider joining the worldwide movement to end human
violence? If so, you can read and, if you wish, sign 'The People’s Charter
to Create a Nonviolent World' online at

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending
human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to
understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist
since 1981. He is the author of 'The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A
Gandhian Approach', State University of New York Press, 1996. His email
address is flametree@riseup.net and his personal website is at



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