Declaration of Istanbul

SI Committee on Peace, Democracy and Human Rights met in Istanbul on the eve of the NATO Summit, 25-26 June 2004

The Socialist International Committee on Peace, Democracy and Human Rights, meeting in Istanbul on 25-26 June 2004, recalling the decisions adopted at the XXII Congress in São Paulo and at the Council in Madrid:

1. Regarding the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East

Reiterates its position against preventive military intervention outside the framework of the UN Security Council;

Notes that the situation in Iraq confirms that unilateral strategies are not able to build peace and stability and expresses the need for a stronger and more effective role by the multilateral institutions, starting with the United Nations;

Welcomes the unanimously adopted Resolution 1546 of the UN Security Council as a significant step towards the beginning of a new phase in Iraq’s transition;

Reaffirms the importance of strong support from the international community to help the Iraqi people to approve a Constitution for a secular, democratic, multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious federal state, safeguarding the political and territorial integrity of Iraq, with respect for the rights of women and minorities, and to organise free and fair elections;

Stresses the importance of the forthcoming handover on 30 June, when the CPA will cease to exist and the Interim Government of Iraq will assume effective responsibility and authority over political and administrative decisions;

Underlines at the same time, that the current situation in Iraq is still very difficult. Violence and terrorism continue, resulting in many victims both among the Iraqi citizens and among soldiers from the international forces, while many foreign civilians are victims of kidnapping and brutal violence. In this context, the reconstruction process is very slow and the concrete conditions of life of the Iraqi population are not improving as necessary;

Urges all parties involved to refrain from any action that might further endanger peace and stability in the area;

Strongly condemns all terrorist and other acts of violence taking place in Iraq, irrespective of perpetrators and targets, stressing that no reason may justify the killing of innocent people;

Condemns all acts of violence and torture including the violation of human rights in Abu Grahib prison, and firmly asks that those responsible, at every level, be prosecuted;

Affirms that stability, democracy and peace in Iraq are very closely related with the solution of security problems, as the recent declarations of the UN Secretary General showed. The electoral process will be gravely affected if there is not a significant change in the security situation;

Believes that Resolution 1546 has not automatically produced such a change in regard to security issues, as the composition and responsibilities concerning the foreign military force in Iraq has not been significantly modified;

Hopes that the international community will commit itself to fully implementing Resolution 1546 and to creating a new situation in the security field, in order to really open a new phase in the transition process, end the occupation and strengthen the credibility of the Interim Government before the Iraqi population;

In this context, urges the UN to play a more effective role in Iraq for the maintenance of peace and security and urges coalition forces to transfer their power to a UN-led Peace-Keeping Force;

Considers that NATO should not be involved unless there is a clear UN mandate and only in the framework of a broader participation from the international community, particularly from Arab and Muslim countries;

Strongly supports all efforts aimed at the establishment of democratic and secular regimes in the region and asks the Iranian authorities to fulfil the commitment taken with the international community in regard to nuclear production and to respect human and civil rights;

Believes that dialogue and cooperation between different religions and cultures is the only possible way to defeat the risk of a clash of civilisations which we strongly oppose;

Urges both parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to abstain from all use of violence and to implement a mutual and simultaneous ceasefire;

Condemns the killing of civilians during the military actions of Israeli forces in the Palestinian territories;

Urges all Palestinian groups to stop all forms of violence and particularly terrorist attacks against innocent people;

Calls on both the Israelis and Palestinians to respect and fully implement the Road Map and to recognise the existence of each other within the internationally recognised borders;

Calls on the international community to support every effort for the immediate resumption of negotiations on the basis of international law; the EU should encourage a political solution by inviting Jordan, Palestine and Israel to be linked to the internal market through a special agreement; NATO’s "Partnership for Peace" could be another framework aiming at political solutions in the region; and to help all the peace and dialogue initiatives from Israeli and Palestinian societies.

Expresses its commitment to continue the Socialist International’s efforts for peace and democracy in Iraq and the Middle East, such as the SI missions organised to Baghdad, Israel and Palestine as well as the International Conference held in Rome in July 2003, and to further its contact with the new interim government in Iraq.

Equally expresses its full support for all democratic political parties in Iraq, including its member party, in all their efforts to establish a fully functioning democracy and to organise elections in January 2005.

2. Considering that the struggle against terrorism is one of the main priorities for the international community:

Underlines that to combat this threat the international community should strengthen its capacity for cooperation between intelligence and police services, should cut the financial and political bonds that cover and help terrorist organisations at international level, and should use mainly political and economic means rather than military responses;

Believes that the possibility to defeat terrorism and violence is closely linked with a more general commitment for a new and more democratic international order;

Reiterates that our security is linked and co-exists with growing inequalities between poor and rich countries; with dramatic migration tensions; with an increasingly threatened environment; with hunger and pandemics which always strike the weakest; with poverty, exploitation and marginalisation of millions of people, especially women and children in many countries;

Stresses that we are facing fundamental challenges which require global responses and which the international community has not yet found appropriate answers for, and it is divided with regard to the strategies to be used in order to combat, reduce and control these new threats.

3. In order to achieve concrete results in promoting peace, democracy, human rights:

Believes it is crucial to re-launch the role of the international institutions, above all the United Nations, and to affirm the rule of international law. Multilateralism can be effective and it is the only way to find adequate solutions to the global and dramatic challenges we have to face;

Reiterates the SI commitment to thoroughgoing reform of the United Nations System, including institutions like the WHO and ILO. These institutions must have powers, resources and instruments to prevent and control conflicts, to maintain peace, to promote sustainable development, and to protect human and civil rights. At the same time, these institutions must continue to work for greater efficiency and their democratic legitimacy should be strengthened.

Stresses the need for a new equilibrium in the way economic and commercial policies are addressed by international institutions and considers that the WTO should work to ensure that trade is both free and fair, to reject new forms of protectionism, to safeguard fundamental and human rights, and to promote sustainable development policies worldwide;

Recalls the declaration adopted at the XXII Congress in São Paulo for the reform of the Bretton Woods system, for the establishment of a UN Security Council on Economic, Social and Environmental Issues, for the establishment of a World Environment Organisation and the decision to create a specific working group with the purpose of elaborating a comprehensive and detailed SI proposal on the reform of the United Nation System.

Underlines that the challenge of a "democratic global governance" is one of the themes on which the SI has been developing an open dialogue and cooperation both with the US Democrats and with the NGOs and social movements, that are expressions of the "global civil society" which gather in the World Social Fora;

Believes that promoting a multilateral approach to facing the new global problems means also to support the creation or the strengthening of regional/continental institutions. The European Union is currently the most advanced and effective expression of regional integration based on democracy, peace and respect for diversities. The recent enlargement and the first European Constitution are historical events, not only for the Europeans. Further countries are ready to join and we call on the EU to take the necessary decisions in December 2004 to open enlargement negotiations with Turkey without delay;

Stresses that other regional institutions have been created in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, with the ambition not only to open markets and economies but also to build political and social integration processes. The SI supports these efforts that might help in the direction of a multipolar and more balanced international order.

4. Calls on NATO, on the eve of its forthcoming summit in Istanbul, to further contribute to increase stability and security for the enlarged Euro-Atlantic community and its neighbours;

Considers that any eventual change with regard to the nature or goals of NATO should be done transparently and following a democratic debate amongst its members;

Encourages NATO’s efforts aimed at deepening and widening political understanding, dialogue and partnership with neighbours, extending the positive experience of the Partnership for Peace initiative with the former USSR countries, looking at the Mediterranean countries and region, aiming at enhancing dialogue and positive influence in the entire Middle East area;

Appreciates NATO’s commitment to key stabilisation initiatives such as its missions in the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo), and to its implementing action in Afghanistan;

Believes that the Atlantic Alliance can be a crucial part of a new multilateral environment of security in peace, based on international law and on a renewed, enhanced role for the United Nations.

5. Expresses its gratitude to the Republican People’s Party, CHP, and its leader, Deniz Baykal, for hosting the Socialist International in Istanbul and underlines its wholehearted support for the role of social democracy in Turkey.

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