Statement on Policy
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) arose from the Charter of the United Nations (1945), which was the founding document of the UN. The declaration was, and remains, a clear statement of principles: the equal rights of men and women, without distinction of any kind (such as race, colour, sex and sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion) to self-determination, equality before the law, social progress and better standards of living.
Each one of the great powers of the United Nations has betrayed those principles on many occasions with devastating consequences for millions of people. Despite this, international conventions exist to provide a framework for relations between all nations and peoples in times of both peace and war.
Yet human rights at home and abroad are under threat as never before, because of the ‘War on Terror’. The violation of international and domestic laws has not and could not make any civilian population safe from terrorist attack. Conversely, the ‘War on Terror’ has engendered the most degrading and illegal abuse of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, shattered the peace process in the Middle East and legitimised the Chechen genocide. The humiliation and torture of Muslim prisoners suspected of terrorism in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and in CIA-run ‘black sites’ all over the world have been directed by the White House and supported by the British government from the beginning.
The stories of the British citizens and UK residents imprisoned in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo are chilling. They were interrogated under torture and ‘rendered’ (transferred to a country for the purposes of being tortured) with the complicity of the British government, in defiance of the Geneva Conventions and in contemptible disregard of international conventions and human morality. We condemn the use of torture and evidence obtained through torture, and the intention to return any person, regardless of the reason, to a country where they may face torture.
Five years on from the invasion, the catastrophe in Iraq rumbles on; six years on from the invasion of Afghanistan more British soldiers are losing their lives than ever before. Here at home the climate of fear continues to divide our communities and increasingly draconian anti-terror legislation does not address the real threat that terrorism poses to the public.
The rule of law
Peace & Progress recognises that the introduction and implementation of laws in the UK to combat terrorism, and the derogation of the right of British citizens to be tried in accordance with the basic principles of English and Scottish law, have not only increased the risk of terrorism but have also significantly undermined the independence of the judiciary, the principle of ‘innocence until proven guilty’, and the civil liberties and security of communities under suspicion.
Peace & Progress campaigns to defend the rule of law and to uphold and strengthen international conventions and institutions which are working for the implementation of the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Freedom of movement and the Right to Asylum
We recognise that the freedom of movement across borders, particularly in a global economy, is a human right, which should not be curtailed or limited by discrimination on any grounds. Peace & Progress also recognises that the right to seek and obtain asylum as a refugee is a fundamental principle of human rights.
The Right to Self-determination
Peace & Progress affirms the inalienable right of all peoples to self-determination. No nation can be deemed to have true self-determination while there are foreign troops in its territory.
A Just peace in the Middle East
We support campaigns for justice in Palestine, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Occupied Territories and the objective of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. We support the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the awarding of reparations to Iraq.
War on poverty
Peace & Progress recognises the urgency of reducing the levels of poverty and injustice in the distribution of wealth around the world and the role that social injustice has in fuelling acts of terrorism.
We campaign for the implementation of the Millennium Development goals and recognise that the drive to war can only undermine these goals.
The Rights of the Child
Children and young people are amongst the most vulnerable in society. They number highest amongst the victims of poverty, gross exploitation and war throughout the globe. We affirm unconditional commitment to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
We support the upholding of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and all test ban treaties.
Peace & Progress recognises the grave danger posed to humanity by climate change and environmental damage and our responsibilities to protect and guard our planet. Failure to do so will lead to social upheaval on an unprecedented scale with all the resultant implications for human rights and freedoms.
Peace & Progress 2008