Monday, May 5, 2014

Towards Centres for a Culture of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago

Statement, Chair, National Commission for UNESCO and
Trinidad and Tobago Representative on the UNESCO National Commission on creating a Culture of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Kris Rampersad
May 5, 2014
I invite the national community to reflect on actions that will help promote and advance the cultivation of a culture of peace and non violence in Trinidad and Tobago as it works to help the society strengthen its peace-driven defense mechanisms to counteract what seems to be an escalating culture of violence among  men, women and children in our society.
As the country tries to come to grips with the most recent of brutal actions on our citizens with the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, we draw attention to the UNESCO programme of action for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, and invite individuals, groups and agencies to work with us to devise positive actions to cultivate values and practices of peace and non violence in various spheres of daily national life.  The action plan recognises that legal provisions are necessary to creating the right conditions and environment for the harmonious development of women, men and children towards building a culture of peace.
We believe more than ever in the relevance of the principles of a new humanism and soft diplomacy towards creating a culture of peace and non violence begins with, and in, our daily lives, as espoused by this action plan.

It states that: “that peace is more than the absence of war, but living together with our differences – of sex, race, language, religion or culture – while furthering universal respect for justice and human rights on which such coexistence depends.

As such, we also draw attention to the UNESCO Constitution and Charter to which Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory, and the commitment made to advance universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms contained in Article 1,  based on which the National Commission is developing its own Charter for Peace.

We see these as mechanisms that can be used to sustain hope for the new humanism that focuses not just on prevention, mediation, reconciliation and law, but also more proactive promote  preventative actions to cultivating values and culture of peace and non violence in our everyday lives.
The United Nations has mandated UNESCO as its line agency to promote a culture of peace. It defines such a culture of peace as comprising values, attitudes and behaviours that promote “freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavours to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes.”
As the line agency of the United Nations charged with building a culture of peace, UNESCO acts on the declaration that “since wars begin in the minds of men and women it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.
We look forward to the strengthening of national “culture of peace” programmes and creation of spaces for peace within communities, home, schools and other social institutions.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the National Commission for UNESCO, and my own behalf, I extend condolences to the family and friends and the Trinidad and Tobago national community so deeply affected by the violence in our society in general, and the loss of Ms Seetahal in particular. The principles of law and justice to which Ms Seetahal devoted her life’s work are reflected in
We note that Ms Seetahal has added, not only in actions but also in words, considerably to the intellectual stock of knowledge and efforts at transforming agencies of the judiciary and the society in general in the Commonwealth, among them in her work for promoting prison reform which speak to the environment of a new humanism that UNESCO driven by its Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova has been promoting. Ms Seetahal’s publication of Law in the Commonwealth Caribbean has become one of the standard legal texts in international legal practice.
Dr Kris Rampersad
Chair, Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO and Trinidad and Tobago Representative on the UNESCO Executive Board


Related Links:

Murder She Wrote: Death Written in Stone in Dana Seetahal Assassination

Creating UNESCO Centres of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago

The Price of Independence:#DanaSeetahalAssassination

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