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.