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Adopted at the 79th World PEN Congress in Reykjavik, September 2013

Bled Manifesto of the Writers for Peace Committee

WfPC_signPEN 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.




Declaration in support of the pro-European option of the Ukrainian people

The PEN centers from Central-East Europe and the Balkan countries – members of the global writers’ association PEN INTERNATIONAL – express their solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are demonstrating these days in Kiev and in other cities in favor of the pro-European integration of their country. Among those demonstrating in the ”Euro wasteland” in Kiev are many writers, journalists, and creative people whose values of liberty and democracy we share. The place of Ukraine is undoubtedly in the European family, where it already belongs by virtue of its culture and age-old traditions.

On November 29, 2013, at the summit of the Eastern Partnership in Vilnius, the Republic of Moldavia and Georgia signed a covenant of association and free trade with the European Union. The Ukraine, which had previously initiated these negotiations, should have signed its own agreement of association with the EU at the same time. Unfortunately, it appears that the chances of a European integration of Ukraine have been hijacked by the interests of its leaders, as well as by pressures from Russia, which appears is ready to use any means, be they political, economic or military sanctions, in order to maintain the ex-Soviet republics in her sphere of influence.

The PEN centers from Central-East Europe and the Balkan countries are supporting the peaceful protest of the people gathered on the “Euro waste land” in Kiev as well as the right of Ukrainians to choose freely and democratically their way of development. The victory of the pro-European option in Ukraine will also facilitate the process of integration into the European Union of other countries of the Eastern Partnership – the republics of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan – and will accelerate the reforms and the modernization of these societies as they seek to be rid of the remnants of their Soviet past. Opportunities thus will be created for solving the separatist conflicts inherited from the Soviet period and continued by the Russian Federation in places such as Abkhazia and South Osetia in Georgia, Transnistria in the Republic of Moldova, and Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The PEN centers from Central-East Europe and the Balkan countries condemn the use of force by the police and the security forces in Kiev against peaceful protesting people, among whom are Ukrainian and foreign journalists. We also condemn the campaign of persecution in schools and universities against young people who are participating in the protests. We are against any form of violence. A real dialogue is needed between protesters and authorities that will allow the best political solutions for placing Ukraine on the way to European integration.

We call upon the governments of the EU countries and of the candidate states to manifest their support for the European aspirations of Ukraine. We call upon the political parties, the civil society, the media organizations and the unions of artists from the countries that are members of the Eastern Partnership, but we also call upon the civil society and the independent press of the Russian Federation to join the Ukrainian people in its wish to belong again to the family of free and democratic nations – a situation which concerns also other people from the ex-Soviet Union that are wishing to break free from the totalitarian past.

We call upon the writers and the PEN centers from all over the world to support the aspirations of freedom and Europeanism of our fellow writers  in Ukraine.

 

P.E.N. Moldova (Vitalie Ciobanu president)

P.E.N. Romania (Magda Carneci president)

P.E.N. Montenegro (Mladen Lompar president)

P.E.N. Slovenia (Marjan Strojan, President)




Letter from John Ralston Saul to President Yanukovych

Letter from John Ralston Saul to President Yanukovych (PDF)




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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