Mr. President, Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express how much I feel honored to participate in this conference dedicated to peace in the world, in the perspective of respect for life and common understanding among peoples.
Today we are facing a big threat caused by fanaticism and radicalism that should mobilize all the efforts of civil society, religious movements, international institutions, governments and political parties in order to stop it. But we need to go deeper in the causes of this threats and work very hard to put an end to political repression while helping to create free societies with decent jobs and perspectives of future. If we fail to do this, disruption will keep on causing instability, suffering, poverty, forced migration, refugees, xenophobia.
The extremist and fanatic threat represented by terrorist groups like Daesh and Al-Qaeda, with its local branches in several regions, became a world wide spread ideology with a message of hate and despise for human life. The expansion of Daesh, particularly, is at the origin of many of the instability provoked in countries around Syria and Irak, but also in European Union, causing divisions, tensions, and selfishness while people that really need help and solidarity are still waiting for a solution for their lives.
Political leaders have the responsability to place justice, solidarity, human dignity and human rights as values able to guide their political action. If they do not, our societies become much more divided and vulnerable to desagregation.
Therefore, political decisions all over the world should be courageous, honest and always putting human dignity as a priority for a much better and tolerant world. Of course, United Nations have a crucial role to play, but they need to adequate its level of resources and to reform its structure and procedures to be more effective to accomplish its many missions in several fields, to guarantee peace and stability, to help migrants and refugees, to fight poverty and hunger, to defend sustainable development.
On the other hand, we all must appeal to a number of countries to abandon their cynicism in geopolitics, mainly those who bloke solutions that could lead to situations of peace and world stability. It’s the case of what happens in Syria, or in Palestine, for instance.
The expansion of terrorism is causing huge regional instability in many countries of the Middle East, but also in Europe with dramatic consequences for migrants and refugees, driven from their countries by wars, political and social repression, bad governance and poverty. In global, we are facing the bigest crisis on refugees since de World War II, with more than 65 million displaced peoples.
European Union should do every efforts to make values like solidarity and tolerance assumed and respected all over member states. It is not acceptable that some of them, like Germany, France, Finland and Portugal, for instance, are open for receive more refugees, while others are rejecting human solidarity using arguments that hide nationalistic and xenophobic behavior. In comparison, it is a shame, in fact, if we just look at the more than 3 millions only syrian refugees in Turkye and Libanon, countries with much more dificulties than european states.
EU should make all efforts to persuade the countries now reluctant to accept their part of responsibility, sharing in a fair and balanced way the distribution of refugees. Otherwise, our common values, such as humanism and solidarity, loose their value, and thou, European Union loose also its capacity to be a reference at global level.
It is not acceptable that thousands and thousands are still living in miserable camps, like in Calais, now facing local hostility. It is not acceptable that more than 10 thousand children unaccompanied have simply disappeared after arriving in Europe, feeding human trafficking or even to be used by terrorists.
It needs a strong pedagogy to convince our societies to accept migrants and refugees, and give them conditions for a good integration. School, religious communities, municipalities, and media have an important role to play in transmiting the values of solidarity, tolerance and respect for human rights. Doing so, we are creating the tools for contending populism and xenophobia, which are the biggest enemies of the internal cohesion and peace whithin our societies.
European Union is doing some efforts to fight against human trafficking, which are essential to defend human dignity and for saving lives. Smugglers don’t care if migrants die in the Mediterranean or when they try to leave Calais to reach Great Britain. We have to help migrants and refugees (refugees which countries are obliged to accept according to the Geneva Convention) now living in camps to find a decent roof, decent jobs or return safely to their countries.
The fences that meanwhile appeared in Europe are a shame for the world and should not exist. They are a symbol of human hate, no matter if they are builded in European borders, in American borders, in Israel or in any other parts of the world. I believe that the world will never be in peace while some of the most ancient conflicts are not solved, like in Israel and Palestine. The efforts for creating two nations living side by side, in peace and security, in the respect of each souvereignity, should really be a priority for a better world.
I believe the aim of a global peace should be deeply rooted in political decisions, actions and speeches of all governments and regional and global institutions. Therefore, politicians can play a crucial role in promoting peace, by passing this message in the meetings they participate. If it happens, it would also be much easier to mobilize citizens for tolerance, respect for human rights, and for a sustainable peace, which are conditions to a real economic and social well-being, security and development for everybody in the world.
Author: Hon. Paulo Pisco
Member of Parliament, Portugal
Mr. Pisco belongs to the Socialist Group at the Portuguese Parliament. After working as a journalist from 1988 to 1995, he became an advisor to the Socialist Parliamentary Group in the European Parliament between 1995 and 1999. He became a Member of the Portuguese Parliament in 2009 and has served three terms. He belongs to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities, the National Defence Commission and the Commission for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports. Between 2004 and 2008, he was a professor of European Studies at the National Institute of Administration. He received the award of Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.