Mr President of the Universal Peace Federation,
Madam President of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace,
I am honored to open this meeting through which we are establishing the Moroccan Parliament Branch of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace. I would like to begin by welcoming our guests, most notably Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), and Ms. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, co-president of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, as well as the remaining guests from the federation and association whose presence confirms the appreciation they have for our country and its regional and global role in establishing peace and in defending the noble human values that the federation is defending.
We are launching the Moroccan Branch of the International Association for Parliamentarians for Peace in the context of what has concerned the world today that necessitates the establishment and stabilization of the values of peace, tolerance, cooperation and justice, as well as what has concerned the defenders of these values and principles. It is an historical coincidence that the launch of the Moroccan branch is taking place at the same time as the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war. On this week in the year 1918, the World War came to an end, but peace was not established forever. Over the course of a century many great events and profound changes took place that transformed the face of the earth. World War II took place creating tremendous destruction especially in Europe, and took the lives of nearly 60 million people. Many other devastating wars erupted, and colonialism ended, as did the Cold War.
Although the face of the earth was changed and peace fell upon many parts of the world, namely Europe the continent that witnessed the first and second world wars, many other destructive wars and lasting conflicts are still undermining regional peace, causing thousands of deaths, migrations and group displacements, and impoverishing millions of people, thereby provoking other conflicts and new tragedies threatening stability in other countries.
Truly the cold war between the east and west ended in its first form; however, we are still living amidst cultural wars, or it is said wars of culture and civilizations, fueled by ignorance of the culture of the other, as well as obsessive self-importance. They are also fueled by deadly sectarianism and the hatred of foreigners. These are phenomena and situations that try to find justifications through acts of violence and extremism that are committed in the name of a particular religion or culture, while other religions or cultures remain innocent of these heinous acts.
These phenomena stir racist speech against the rights of migrants within recipient nations, and they are exploited in politics and elections, and become the basis for legislation that limits the entrance of foreigners and restricts their rights.
To face these tensions, we must reverse the equation by heading towards the roots of the world’s dilemmas today. Migration and asylum are not merely an act of whim or an expression of the love of adventure; rather they are a search for security which people are lacking in their countries; or the search for livelihood that they were unable to obtain due to drought, desertification, or floods; or the search for work that they were unable to find due to the limited resources of their countries and the lack of development; or the rights that are not available in a country whose government collapsed or whose institutions were weakened or were simply unable to manage the rights of its people for expression, organization and structure On the other hand, conflicts may be a result of oppression, or dominance, or invasion, or the control of resources. In all these cases what is threatened is regional and global peace, meaning the person, regardless of his nationality, color, religion, culture or belonging.
There is no doubt that the Universal Peace Federation and its parliamentary branch play a decisive role in confronting these threats, and in calling for peace and the resolution of conflict through peaceful means, and resisting the causes of these conflicts. There is also no doubt that it offers great contributions whether through legal efforts, professional expertise or civil society involvement, in order to advance the creation of a universal front for peace and justice, and the expansion of the circle of defenders of these values around the world, as an indispensable condition for development and progress.
There is no need for me to convince you that collaborating for the sake of development and facilitating the use of the progress that humanity is accomplishing through its technological and business gains and inventions (and in some way what it is accumulating in wealth) will support the efforts to bring about regional and global peace.
Dear presidents, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I am convinced that your movement, as a central component in global diplomacy, will be strengthened through the launch of the Moroccan branch of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, which is considered a central pillar in Moroccan diplomacy. Our country’s contribution has always been crucial in building world peace and in calling for moderation and resolving conflicts through peaceful means, opposing terrorism and extremism, and bringing victory for the values of peace, tolerance and coexistence. Through its notable participation in the peacekeeping work of the United Nations in various conflict regions and its embrace of conflict resolution initiatives, the Kingdom of Morocco was an important contributor in establishing the initiatives for alliance amongst civilizations that have been sponsored by the United Nations since 2005.
This is not unusual for our country due to its geographical location, deep rooted history, and the diversity of the fabric of its civilization. As was noted by the His Highness King Muhammad the sixth, “History is a witness that the open character of Morocco has made a renowned contribution in allowing the fertile and creative fabric of civilization to be transported through many channels towards three significant directions: the first towards Europe through the Iberian archipelago, the second towards the depths of Africa, and the third towards Latin America.”
It is also an historical coincidence that the launch of the Moroccan branch is occurring as the Kingdom of Morocco celebrates the 43rd anniversary of the Green March, which was a march of peace for the unity of the land, and a message with great significance for the world.
Parliaments are at the heart of the defense of peace and its requirements, not simply as a result of their powers to legislate, scrutinize and represent”, but through the dynamic, energetic, independent parliamentary diplomacy that they achieve, as well as the networks they have access to.
When we defend peace, we are defending the future of humanity and the future of the world. Because of the nobility of this goal, your initiative will no doubt be noble.
Once again, I welcome you here, and thank you for your kind attention.
Note: This is a translation from the original Arabic by Heather Fraser-Harris.
Author: Hon. Habib El Malki
President of the House of Representatives, Kingdom of Morocco