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The PEN Community calls for a Peaceful Resolution of the Current Crisis in Ukraine

PEN International, the Writers for Peace Committee, Polish PEN and Russian PEN have each published statements calling for a peaceful, negotiated solution to Ukraine’s current crisis and for respect for Ukrainian citizens’ rights to free expression, assembly and peace.

 

Please read these statements below:

 

PEN International 

 

We, PEN International, the worldwide association of writers is deeply concerned by the escalating political situation in Ukraine with Russian forces now in de facto control of much of Crimea.

 

All individuals and peoples have a right to peace, free expression and free assembly. Military action rarely solves conflict, which should instead be resolved by peaceful dialogue and full respect for freedom of expression, in line with the PEN Charter. We urge all sides in the conflict to begin, as a matter of urgency, meaningful discussions towards a peaceful solution which respects the rights of all in Ukraine.

 

As outlined in PEN International’s Girona Manifesto on Linguistic Rights, respect for all languages and cultures  is fundamental to the process of constructing and maintaining dialogue and peace in the world. [1]   Every linguistic community in Ukraine – whether Ukrainian, Russian or Crimean Tatar – should have the right for its language to be used as an official language in its territory.[2]

 

Additionally, we call on the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation to ensure that freedom of expression and access to information is fully protected.

 

John Ralston Saul

International President

PEN International

 

 


The Writers for Peace Committee

 

The Writers for Peace Committee (WfPC) of PEN International is deeply concerned by the political crisis, the rise of political passions, intolerance and violence in Ukraine and the disintegration of its unity and sovereignty.

 

The WfPC calls on all Ukrainian writers and other intellectuals in Ukraine to do everything they can to assert the principles of a democratic dialogue about the situation in and the future of Ukraine.

 

The Committee calls upon the new government of Ukraine, the leaders of political parties and other interest groups, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and all responsible political and opinion leaders to do everything in their power to calm their people, respecting at the same time freedom of speech and thought, and, above all, to strive for a peaceful dialogue between all political groups in Ukraine. We also urge the Verkhovna Rada to pay special attention to the linguistic rights of those speaking Russian and other languages and the fact that the rights of all ethnical minorities in Ukraine are to be recognized.

 

The Committee also urges all responsible state representatives in Europe, and particularly in the Russian Federation, not to get involved in conflicts and to avoid any attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine for their own benefit. We strongly appeal to all sides to decline any violence or military intervention. We call upon them to respect the territorial unity and sovereignty of Ukraine, the right of the Ukrainian people to decide their own future and to respect the freedom of expression of all people in Ukraine and in their own countries.

 

Tone Peršak

Chair of the Writers of Peace Committee

 

 

 

Russian PEN

 

The Russian PEN centre addresses fellow writers, journalists and bloggers on 3 March, World Writers Day:

 

During these difficult days – when, at any moment a civil war could start in Ukraine, or a war between Russia and Ukraine, or a war in the centre of Europe, when there is greater aggression in the relationships between nations, states, peoples, persons – the word has extreme power: the word pronounced on TV or in a political meeting, the word printed in a newspaper, the word posted on the internet.

 

The word can be used for the manipulation of public understanding, for propaganda instead information, as a source of hate. But it can also be used for truth, understanding and positive thinking.

 

In the history of our country there are too many examples of how state propaganda poisoned the thinking of our citizens and led to the deaths of millions of our people and people from other countries.

 

Now, we face a similar danger. We see around us a a crisis of language which was described by Orwell. Such words as peace, war, fascism and democracy, protections and invasion are shamelessly misused.

 

Lie adds the illusion of legality to actions, which are not legal. And each of us is personally responsible – before history and before him/her self, for everything he or she is says or writes today.

 

 

 

Polish PEN

 

The Polish PEN Club strongly protests the Russian Federation’s invasion of the territory of Ukraine.

 

We are warning the public about the nature and scope of the current events.

 

We support the stand of the authorities of the Republic of Poland who indicate that the objective of the aggression is to dismantle the existing international order. This order is based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, agreements of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the entire system of legal treaties and conventions which govern inter-state relations.

 

We oppose the provocative and ostentatiously mendacious war propaganda that has been set in motion on a mass scale with the aim of concealing the aggressor’s actions and intentions.

 

We express our solidarity with Ukrainians who are defending the independence and unity of their own country.

 

In line with the principles of the International PEN Charter: “Members of PEN should at all times use what influence they have in favour of good understanding and mutual respect among nations; they pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world. […] Members pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood, and distortion of facts for political and personal ends”.

 

 



Ljubljana, 4 March 2014

Ukraine: Public call of the Writers for Peace Committee

To all relevant authorities, 

 

The Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International is deeply concerned by the political crisis, the rise of political passions, intolerance and violence in Ukraine and the disintegration of its  unity and sovereignty. 

 

WfPC calls all Ukrainian writers and other intellectuals in Ukraine to do everything they can to assert the principles of a democratic dialogue about the situation in and the future of Ukraine. 

 

The Committee calls upon the new government of Ukraine, the leaders of political parties and other interest groups, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and all responsible political and opinion leaders to do everything in their power to calm their people, respecting at the same time  freedom of speech and thought, and, above all, to strive for a peaceful dialogue between all political groups in Ukraine. We also urge the Verkhovna Rada to pay special attention to the linguistic rights of those speaking Russian and other languages and the fact that the rights of all ethnical minorities in Ukraine are to be recognized.

 

The Committee also urges all responsible state representatives in Europe, and particularly in the Russian Federation, not to get involved in conflicts and to avoid any attempt to take  advantage of the situation in Ukraine for their own benefit. We strongly appeal to all sides to decline any violence or military intervention. We call upon them to respect the territorial unity and sovereignty of Ukraine, the right of Ukrainian people to decide their own future and to respect the freedom of expression of all people in Ukraine and in their own countries.

 

 

For the Writers of Peace Committee

 

Tone Peršak

WfPC sign




Presentation of the Bled Manifesto of the WfPC

Thursday, 16th of January was a big day for the WfPC and a first public presentation of a more than two year's work of a worldwide communitity of writers, striving for Peace. 

WfPC of PEN International launched its Bled Manifesto of the Writers for Peace Committee longside the presentation of the 2014 Oxfam Novib/PEN International Free Expression Award to freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, journalist and activist Oksana Chelysheva and journalist and human rights defender Dina Meza for their continued work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution in The Hague on Thursday, 16th of January 2014.  

The Manifesto, which was adopted at the 79th PEN International Congress in Iceland in September 2013, recognises the key role of writers in creating the conditions necessary for building and maintaining peace through dialogue and intellectual exchange and calls for the recognition of a universal right to peace. 




Adopted at the 79th World PEN Congress in Reykjavik, September 2013
Bled Manifesto of the Writers for Peace Committee
PEN International,the world’s leading association of writers, promotes a culture of peace based on freedom of expression, dialogue, and exchange. PEN is dedicated to linguistic and cultural diversity and to the vibrancy of languages and their cultures whether spoken by many or few.  PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee has therefore approved this Manifesto calling for the universal right to peace, based on the Lugano Declaration for Peace and Freedom (1987), on the  Appeal of Linz Protesting Against the Degradation of the Environment (2009)  and on the Belgrade Declaration of the Writers for Peace Committee, approved at the 77th Congress of PEN International (September 2011).1. All individuals and peoples have a right to peace and this right should be recognised by the United Nations as a universal human right. 2. PEN promotes discussion and dialogue between writers from countries in conflict and across regions of the world where wounds are open and political will is unable to address tensions. 3. PEN seeks to bring together people from around the world through literature and discussion amongst writers and with the broad public. 4. PEN considers one of the world’s greatest challenges to be the transition from violence to debate, discussion and dialogue. We aim to be active participants in this progress promoting where necessary the principles of international law. 5. In order to achieve the conditions for peace, freedom of expression and creativity in all its forms must be respected and protected as a fundamental right so long as it respects all other basic human rights in accordance with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.6. PEN acknowledges that it is of primary importance to be permanently committed to creating conditions that can lead to ending conflicts of all kinds. There is neither freedom without peace, nor peace without freedom; social and political justice is inaccessible without peace and freedom. 7. In order to achieve sustainable conditions for peace, PEN calls for the respect of the environment in conformity with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992). We condemn the excesses of technology and financial speculation that contribute to the impoverishment of a large part of the world’s population.  8.  PEN respects and defends the dignity of all human beings. PEN opposes injustice and violence wherever they are found, including oppression, colonisation, illegal occupation and terrorism.  9. In accordance with the principles of freedom of expression and justice, every individual or group involved in conflict has the right to demand non-violent solutions to conflict and should be free to petition and appeal to  international institutions and government authorities. 10. All children have the right to receive a comprehensive peace and human rights education.  PEN promotes the implementation of this right.
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