The Berlin Congress of the Socialist International is dedicated to addressing the challenges of a new historical epoch. This new epoch is one of revolutionary changes in the political, social and technological order.
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of a long period of bitter ideological conflict and unprecedented suffering, and inaugurated the greatest expansion of freedom in history. The Socialist International, whose ideals of liberty, justice, and solidarity placed it at the forefront in the triumph of the democratic idea, now undertakes the complex task of sustaining the democratic revolution and ensuring that its benefits are extended to all.
The momentous events of 1989 in the now united city of Berlin continue to inspire those still fighting against oppression. Dictatorial regimes hold out defiantly in a number of countries. Torture, lawlessness and the violation of basic rights and freedoms persist in many countries struggling to make the transition to democracy. Democratic socialists must, therefore, remain steadfast in defending human rights wherever they are denied, and firm in our support for committed democrats in their efforts to build better societies.
The end of the Cold War has brought into clearer focus a fast-changing and increasingly interdependent world in which the principles of democratic socialism are more vital than ever. The global economy has wrought wrenching structural changes and fostered a breed of raw capitalism indifferent to human values. These developments threaten fragile democracies and undermine the quality of life in industrialised nations.
The celebration of freedom's recent progress must be tempered by the fact that societies in most newly democratised nations are no more equitable than they were a decade ago. Governments face the enormous expectations of citizens, yet are constrained by the legacy of state-controlled economies, massive foreign debts, and the austerity requirements of international financial institutions. The temptation to use authoritarian means to modernise economies has already resulted in setbacks to democracy in some countries. Even within the industrialised democracies, democratic institutions and the good society are being eroded by the dislocation of jobs and people, and the increasing emphasis on commercial over human values. The current trend, if continued, would commit the vast majority of the world's people to a global underclass. Such an outcome is not only unjust, it is inimical to the survival of democracy and extremely dangerous in a world of ecological interdependence, waves of mass migration, and proliferating weaponry.
The Socialist International, with member parties in nearly every country on every continent, promotes better understanding and greater cooperation among nations that face common global problems. Moreover, our values link together all sectors of increasingly complex societies. Social democratic solidarity is based on a shared commitment to the fundamental principles reasserted and refined at the Stockholm Congress three years ago. It derives strength from diversity, both within and among nations, and provides an essential antidote to resurgent racism, ethnic discrimination and xenophobia.
Democracy as we define it - with political rights, social justice and equal economic opportunity - is the only form of democracy that will endure. While it is true that market mechanisms and competition are required for economic growth and development, it is also true that free markets do not ensure justice. Democratic socialism therefore recognises the State as a necessary servant of the people in guaranteeing a just and equitable society. Governments must be efficient and held accountable for their conduct through democratic debate and decision rooted in a strong and representative civil society. The preservation of rights - and the reconciling of individual rights with the collective rights of workers, women, ethnic groups and indigenous communities - depends on responsibility shared by governments and citizens.
As the world approaches the year 2000 one of the central tasks is to democratise economic change. The failure of communism is not the victory of pure capitalism. The past decade has provided ample proof that "trickle down" does not happen, and that capitalism without oversight is also prone to corruption and the degradation of the environment.
We therefore cannot allow the forces that have been crucial in the fight for freedom - labour unions, civic movements, rights groups - to be elbowed aside. They are indispensable instruments in building just and equitable societies. Any trade or economic integration agreement among nations must include a charter on labour, social and economic rights, and an accord on preserving the environment. Labour standards, in particular, must be established so that worker exploitation is not the primary focus of economic competition.
In addition, developmental aid from industrialised nations must not be contingent merely upon economic reform. It must also be linked to building democratic institutions, and it must address the basic needs of the poorest portions of populations, with special attention to women and the needs and aspirations of indigenous peoples.
The Socialist International remains a leading voice in asserting the link between disarmament and development. As the prospects for achieving international peace improve, so do the opportunities for more constructive use of the world's resources. International organisations, particularly the United Nations, must redouble their efforts to resolve regional and civil conflicts, and to promote reductions in both nuclear and conventional weaponry.
The technological revolution has brought profound changes to the world, changes that extend well beyond the collapse of totalitarian ideology. We must meet the challenge and grasp the opportunities presented by that revolution to develop new strategies for achieving social democratic goals. We must shape policies that will adapt new information and broadcasting technology to the enhancement of education, literacy, worker skills, and civic participation. Young people, in particular, are seeking opportunities both to develop as individuals and to contribute to society. They must be given the necessary tools and training to realise their potential.
We democratic socialists, aware of the complex and daunting challenges presented by this new stage of history, are confident in our approach to the urgent tasks before us. Unwavering solidarity on behalf of freedom and fundamental rights everywhere, and long held commitments to justice, peace and human well-being, have been our strength in overcoming obstacles in the past. Today, the promise of freedom and the aspirations of all peoples for a better life depend on the establishment of lasting democracy. With renewed dedication and initiative, the Socialist International has set that as our goal.
Peace and Disarmament
The end of the Cold War has promised to facilitate the building of a stable, just and secure world order in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and international law. The decades of East-West divide, of political, ideological, economic and military confrontation are over. Now it is time to seize the opportunity, to redirect our energies and our resources, to heal old wounds and to build a new order based on common security, on freedom, social justice and solidarity.
But while this is a time of promise and opportunities, it is also a time of instability and insecurity. As stated in the Helsinki Document, economic decline, social tension, aggressive nationalism, intolerance, xenophobia and ethnic conflicts threaten stability and peace. For the first time in decades we are witnessing warfare in Europe. New armed conflicts and massive use of force continue to occur, in flagrant violation of international law. Torture, executions and detention camps conjure up fatal memories. The ongoing murderous conflicts in the former Yugoslavia represent a serious danger of escalation into full-blown war.
It would be tragic for the whole international community if the opportunities created by the ending of the Cold War were lost and clocks were turned back to old antagonisms, hatreds, national, ethnic and religious rivalries and armed conflicts. Our world cannot afford such a course. Therefore the Socialist International appeals to all governments, social movements and individuals to work together, beyond national, ethnic and religious barriers, to achieve peace, freedom and justice.
It is most welcome that the relations between the former rival powers have developed positively and become more peaceful and friendly. It is not only in the best interest of the peoples concerned, but of international society as a whole. Due to the special responsibilities of the great powers a number of regional conflicts have moved closer to political solutions, major reductions in military expenditure have come within reach, and the United Nations as well as other multilateral institutions have been revitalised.
The most concrete advances have been made in Europe, the continent that was severely hurt by Cold War confrontation. The Berlin Wall has been torn down, Germany has been united, former members of the Soviet bloc have undergone profound democratic revolutions, being now among the family of free and democratic nations. The Baltic states have regained their independence, and in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its successor states have committed themselves in their joint agreements to the same principles and provisions as all the CSCE (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) states.
Much of the groundwork for these fundamental changes was made by the adoption of Ostpolitik in the 1960s, the early phases of détente, and later by the process of the CSCE, designed to overcome the division of Europe on the basis of principles adopted together in Helsinki in 1975. The peoples of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union played a critical role in this positive development.
The Charter of Paris, adopted in 1990, marks the end of the Cold War and the opening of a new era in the continent, an era based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. All states participating in the CSCE process have committed themselves to these same values and standards. The decisions made in the Helsinki follow-up conference in 1992 to strengthen the CSCE institutions and structures, to introduce CSCE peace-keeping activities, to underline the character of the CSCE as a regional arrangement to the United Nations, to establish a High Commissioner on National Minorities and to create a new forum for security cooperation are all indications of the joint political will to get rid of old animosities and build a new Europe.
The new international situation, mainly in Europe but also in other areas, urgently requires the assumption of new responsibilities by the international community. The new climate arising from the end of the Cold War offers a dramatic opportunity for developing the partnership of existing institutions and security organisations into a comprehensive system for the maintenance of world peace and strengthening of mutual and collective security. The CSCE has also pointed out the need for a global view of security, linking détente and disarmament to comprehensive cooperation in order to contribute to development and to overcome ethnic and cultural barriers.
Now that the political confrontation is over, further moves to radical disarmament, reductions in military spending and the abolition of some old military structures, doctrines and equipment are a logical imperative, and the change in that direction has begun. Instead of nuclear deterrence, the arms race and overmilitarisation of our societies, the world now has to seek peace and security in the implementation of the ideas of common and comprehensive security. In order to achieve these goals we have to work for the strengthening of democracy in all countries, to initiate peace education programmes everywhere and to ensure the right to conscientious objection and an alternative service.
The Russian-American agreement to reduce radically the number of strategic nuclear weapons is a most welcome decision in the right direction. Thereby the two most heavily armed states come further down from the levels agreed within the START framework, and complement earlier well-grounded decisions to eliminate most categories of tactical nuclear weapons. While the Socialist International considers these decisions to be necessary and in accordance with the wishes and demands of the international community, we continue to demand further steps toward nuclear disarmament; still deeper cuts by the two; the prevention of a new anti-ballistic missile race; an end to the development of the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) by the USA and Russia, and Arctic demilitarisation; a comprehensive nuclear test ban at last - now that the positive commitments by the governments of Russia and France as well as by the US Senate have brought that long overdue goal within reach; and the decision in the forthcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to make the non-proliferation regime a permanent and effective element in the overall arrangement guaranteeing nuclear disarmament. We now call on all nuclear weapon states to contribute to the strategic nuclear disarmament process by reducing their own capabilities and joining disarmament talks.
In Europe the most important disarmament agreement that has been reached is the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, negotiated within the CSCE framework. When implemented, the treaty will bring about the most radical cuts in major categories of conventional weapons. Although the agreement was negotiated in the final phases of the period characterised by the cold war confrontation, and although the political realities have changed with the democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, it is imperative that this treaty be implemented. We welcome the understanding reached in the consultations between the CIS, the former Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO) states and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) about the implementation of the treaty and of the responsibilities of each. In this context, the Open Skies Treaty, signed in the framework of the CSCE, establishes a new set of confidence-building measures.
The disarmament impact of the CFE Treaty is most concrete in Central Europe, where the withdrawal of the former Soviet troops to Russia complements the positive transformation of the security order. The positive political impact is felt elsewhere in Europe as well. However, since the independence of earlier Soviet republics new local and regional imbalances can be the result. It is imperative that the transfer of troops and armaments to certain military districts in Russia and other CIS states does not create new security imbalances. Equally important as has been agreement on the withdrawal of ex-Soviet troops from Central Europe, is agreement without delay on their early, orderly and complete withdrawal from the three independent Baltic republics. Only the removal of all grounds for security concerns and for military speculation can create a good basis for peaceful cooperation to the benefit of all. Therefore, the Socialist International favours regional stability arrangements to be agreed upon in the framework of the new forum for security cooperation of the CSCE.
The end of the period of global confrontation has created favourable conditions for all arms control and disarmament agreements. The treaty on the complete ban on all chemical weapons, the text of which has now finally been agreed, must be signed and ratifed by all states and its implementation has to be started as soon as possible. All arms trade has to be curbed through national and international measures. As a first step a global information system, an arms transfer register, has to be established within the United Nations framework, which then can be developed to an effective verification agency. The most urgent challenge is to control in a most effective way all transfers related to nuclear materials, missile technologies, as well as to other sensitive technologies, whether applicable to weapons of mass destruction or so-called conventional weapons. The need to control and reduce arms transfers is underlined by recent experiences of escalation of regional conflicts due to unhampered arms transfers.
Regional agreements that were inhibited during the Cold War must now be pursued in order to contribute to the political settlement of regional conflicts. In this respect the CSCE experience encourages us to recommend the emulation of crisis prevention, confidence building and cooperation in other regions as well, especially where tensions have been at a high level. Regions such as the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, East and South-East Asia and Latin America might benefit from such experiences in the efforts to achieve stable peace, security and development. The Secretary General of the UN is quite right in emphasising that no corner of murderous misery must be neglected by the world community.
The time is now ripe to implement an international security regime based on the Charter of the United Nations. We want improved UN capabilities for anticipating and preventing conflicts, in particular the establishment of a global emergency system. We want the elaboration of a global law enforcement arrangement, in accordance with the UN Charter, focusing on the role of sanctions. The Socialist International strongly supports organisational and financial measures to strengthen the UN capabilities for preventive diplomacy, peace-building and peace-keeping as proposed by the UN Secretary General. The UN should play a larger role in emergency operations for humanitarian assistance. In a new UN role, the earmarking of troops and material as on-call forces for the Secretary General should be contemplated. The Socialist International endorses the suggestion of the Secretary General of the UN for contributions from national military budgets to the creation of a UN Peacekeeping Fund.
While much progress has been made and can further be made by international disarmament agreements both globally and regionally, the Socialist International emphasises the importance of national decisions to curtail the levels of armaments and military spending as well as military R&D.
For several decades the world has spent enormous sums in military expenditure and missed the constructive alternative uses of those resources. It has been drifting further and further from the goals and ideals set down in the UN Charter of maintaining peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources. The time has come to change direction, to convert our national societies and our international order from one dominated by military considerations to one designed to serve the peoples of the world. Realistic and effective conversion programmes have to be planned and implemented everywhere and at all levels of our societies, with full consciousness of certain difficulties in the transition period, but in awareness of the fact that civilian economy is not only designed to serve constructive purposes but also has a more positive employment impact than military production.
Funds saved through arms limitations must be used for bridging the North-South gap and halting the ongoing social and ecological disasters, the root causes of international conflicts. The rich countries have to commit themselves effectively to a level of development assistance of at least 0.7% of their GNP. The developing countries would be better able to direct public expenditure to social needs and productive investments with debt-relief and improved development assistance from the North. The challenge in the building of a new world order is to link efforts aimed at disarmament, development and human rights in an effective manner. Common and comprehensive security is the key to the attainment of this goal. The Socialist International is participating in this effort with all its energy.
The Socialist International reaffirms that human rights and fundamental freedoms have universal validity and are an essential part of any new global order based on liberty and justice. Rights and freedoms must be respected among all peoples and nations, and there must be constant vigilance, and condemnation wherever they are violated or denied. The SI believes that the right of people to choose their governments through free and fair elections is fundamental. We call on the United Nations to demand that its member states grant to all their citizens the right to vote and to be elected.
At the same time, the Socialist International recognises the inter-relationship between various categories of rights and freedoms. Only a careful balance of political and civil rights on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights on the other, can give a democratic system its full meaning and meet the needs of all sectors of society.
Since the formation of the Socialist International, access to adequate food, shelter, health care and education has greatly widened and is, in some countries, close to universal. International standards of civil and political freedom have been established and, despite continuing widespread violations, have contributed to greater freedom of political debate and improvements in the quality of life. The SI has made a significant contribution to these developments and will continue to do so.
At the Stockholm Congress in 1989 the Socialist International set out a detailed platform on human rights. It embraces civil, political, social and economic, as well as cultural rights - pertaining equally to women and men. Furthermore, the rights of future generations are integral to our vision. The platform stresses that human rights are indivisible and that when they are violated, democracy itself is endangered. It states that true social welfare cannot be attained where individuals are deprived of their human rights, that fundamental rights and freedoms must be respected in every society regardless of its degree of development. Moreover, where social inequality threatens peace, human rights are jeopardised.
Since then, political changes worldwide have given rise to new challenges in the field of human rights - demonstrating the dynamic relationship between individual and collective rights, and their interaction with other critical international issues, such as sustainable development, disarmament, environmental protection and social justice.
In many countries authoritarian regimes have been forced to give way to democratic forces and governments more respectful of human rights. But the progress of democratic transition has been uneven. While improvement in respect for human rights has been achieved in some countries, in others progress has been painfully slow.
Armed conflicts and the continued proliferation of weapons of all types still bring fear and horror to millions and are directly related to continuing widespread violations of human rights, especially the rights of children. Even as racism becomes recognised for the destructive force it is and steps are taken to dismantle apartheid, new forms of racial tension, rooted in neo-fascism and xenophobia, are rising and finding expression in violence. In addition, poverty, disease, lack of social justice, and famine undermine progress on human rights. There are now over 17 million refugees, 20 million displaced persons, and mass migrations of people within and beyond national boundaries. These challenges must be confronted.
The forthcoming United Nations Second World Conference on Human Rights, to be held in Vienna in June 1993, presents a major opportunity for promoting human rights. In this regard, we welcome the political will expressed by the members of the Non-Aligned Movement in their Jakarta Declaration of September 1992 to contribute fully to this important conference and help it to "address all aspects of human rights on the basis of universality, indivisibility, impartiality and non-selectivity."
The SI urges the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference to focus particularly on the implementation and observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other conventions and covenants. We believe that all violations of human rights must be rigorously investigated, and appropriate sanctions implemented against perpetrators of abuse. The UN Conference must also consider ways of strengthening human rights mechanisms at the global and regional levels. The effectiveness of multilateral, governmental and non-governmental action in protecting and promoting human rights must be improved. All governments must be held accountable for their human rights records, and human rights must be a key factor in determining the level of economic and political relations between nations.
Methods for enhancing international cooperation for cultural, social and economic rights must be further developed. The root causes of human rights violations must be examined, and measures to improve the situation of the most vulnerable and reduce the gap between the rich and poor must remain a priority.
The rights of asylum seekers and refugees must be protected. The SI calls for an amendment to the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and for member states to implement legislation giving women who are persecuted because they are women the right to asylum and refugee status. The SI appeals to the United Nations to implement special care and assistance programmes for women refugees and displaced persons who, together with their children, constitute 80 percent of the refugees and displaced persons in the world.
The SI recognises the rights of minorities and ethnic and indigenous groups in their desire to preserve their cultural, linguistic or religious identity.
The SI calls on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to make special efforts to eradicate illiteracy. We believe that since more than six out of every ten illiterate persons in the world are women, targeted adult education programmes for women must be supported.
The SI also calls on the United Nations to include in its Charter for Human Rights a provision that no person be persecuted, criminalised or discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation. We also appeal to all member parties to comply with UN Resolution 1990/65 which concerns "Discrimination against people infected with HIV or people with AIDS", and to introduce relevant anti-discriminatory legislation. And we call on all member parties to denounce human rights violations such as rape, sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Perpetrators of such crimes must be brought to justice irrespective of their status and whether they are civilians or military.
The SI reiterates its total rejection of the death penalty and again calls on its member parties to work towards the abolition of this practice wherever it still exists.
The struggle for human rights is the task of this generation and every generation to come. To facilitate this struggle, we believe that a comprehensive programme of information and education about human rights and how to defend them should be disseminated in all countries, particularly among the young. The SI supports all initiatives to assist this process.
Progress towards greater European cooperation supported by socialist and social democratic parties continues, amid debate and pending the outcome of momentous decision-making processes in some countries.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 served as a powerful symbol of the end of the physical divisions in the continent which were created by the Cold War. The demise of Soviet communism has meant that the ideological battles which absorbed so much attention and so many of the resources of Europe for so long are happily today things of the past.
The consequent opportunities offered to the cause of democratic socialism must be seized.
In Eastern and Western Europe some of the money that was spent in military defence is now available for productive investment and social goals.
The focus of European cooperation remains the European Community whose continuing development, far from preventing progress towards the ideals of our International, provides a framework for them. The European ideal of society, avoiding as it does the stifling presence of a too-powerful state on the one hand and a sense of forced individualism on the other, is one which is embraced by democratic socialists.
The driving force for the establishment of the European Community was the desire of its founders, many of them socialists, to make the prospect of war between its members impossible. Such an objective is no less valid today for being so deeply rooted.
The structures of the European Community, while still far short of perfection, do offer fora for democratic debate and decision-making. In such a context, the European Parliament to whose development socialists have made a large contribution, must play an increasingly important role in decision-making by the member nations.
The socialist vision of the European Community must be that of combining economic efficiency with cooperation and social justice.
Within its present boundaries the European Community has an obligation to deal sensitively with the least privileged sectors of society and allot development funds to its least developed regions.
Farmers depend on the resources of the European Community and can expect it to assist them in the preservation of their livelihood. Those industrial workers who have suffered from the declining fortunes of the enterprises where they worked must also benefit from European Community aid.
The European Community must also maintain an open attitude to its partners in the European Economic Area and welcome as full members all those countries who accept its objectives and the means to achieve them.
No less crucial is the European Community's attitude towards Eastern Europe. The already appreciable flow of economic aid to the countries of that region must be maintained.
At the same time the more advanced Western European states must refrain from any activity likely to exacerbate the already serious clash of nationalisms in the East.
For their part the states of Eastern Europe must be encouraged to maintain and not destroy those links amongst themselves which can further their political cooperation and economic prosperity.
As they push forward along the path towards further cooperation European countries of East and West will be wise to remember their global responsibilities towards the poorer regions of the world. The demands of international solidarity - not to mention powerful motives of self-interest - dictate that trade and aid policies negotiated with developing countries must be fair and generous.
Europe will continue to be a pole of attraction for immigrants from less privileged countries. This phenomenon has already generated xenophobia and racial tensions. Socialists, in Europe as elsewhere, are committed to fighting in the most unyielding way against racism of all kinds.
Central and Eastern Europe
At the Socialist International's last Congress, held in Stockholm in June 1989, it was already apparent that communism would collapse entirely in Europe. What was not discernible at the time, however, in all its details, was the large number of problems which the communist system would leave behind.
At the party leaders' conference in Sydney (March 1991) and at the Council meeting in Santiago (November 1991) as well as on many other occasions, the SI discussed these questions and issued detailed statements about them.
We welcome and support the progress made with regard to the establishment and development of democratic structures in Central and Eastern Europe, i.e. in the countries formerly under communist rule, and we reaffirm that the pluralistic democracies which are in the process of developing must be protected from, and defended against, threats from all directions. In this context, it is also important that principles of law and order are applied by the inhabitants of the countries concerned when reappraising their own past.
The member parties of the SI are willing to engage in an intensive exchange of views, in a dialogue and in cooperation with all the democratic forces in these young democracies.
We know that the stability of these democracies - and this applies in particular to the states of the former Soviet Union - will depend to a large extent on the success of their economic efforts.
In this context we consider the conversion of the military industry in the former Warsaw Pact countries and the complete withdrawal of the former Soviet troops a necessity, which helps to pave the way for democratic reform and political stability.
There is a need for, amongst other things, coordinated support for the reform efforts made, not only through providing financial aid but also through the exchange of know-how and experience and offering training opportunities for managers. In addition, the aid promises made by the international community will have to be put into practice and economic cooperation will have to be intensified.
However, the governments of the countries whose economies are currently being transformed from central planning to market economy structures should realise that fair income distribution, social security, the achievements of the welfare state and strong democratic trades unions are indispensable to the stability and functioning of such a system.
Since the early days of the labour movement, the Socialist International has had to deal with the problems and risks of nationalism. It has learned how important the historical and cultural identity of a nation is, and how important it is to protect the rights of specific ethnic groups, and the SI vehemently defends the right of nations to self-determination, laid down in the Charter of the United Nations; however, now as in the past, the SI categorically rejects nationalism which leads to hatred, discord and war.
The Socialist International reaffirms the necessity of combining the right to self-determination with strict respect for internationally established and recognised borders, and no modification of those borders by the use of force. In this connection the Socialist International supports the position of the Czecho-Slovak Social Democrats who are critical of the separation of the country without a referendum.
Emphasising one's own identity and ethnic origin must under no circumstances lead to violence or to the violation of fundamental and human rights.
Against this background, we are deeply concerned in particular about the developments in the former Yugoslavia, and we are outraged at the manifest war crimes committed there.
We appeal to all the parties and persons involved in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, in particular to the leadership of Serbia, to abstain from using force. War crimes and crimes against humanity which are now being committed must be punished by legal proceedings in court. Detention centres must be immediately opened to inspection by the International Red Cross, and institutions resembling concentration camps must be closed at once.
Whilst every possibility of ending this bloody war as quickly as possible should be carefully studied, the Socialist International expresses its hope that a military intervention can be avoided in this context; instead, it supports the use of peace-keeping forces of the United Nations, the implementation of the recommendations of the London Conference, the consistent enforcement without exception of the embargo imposed by the United Nations as a means to counteract military escalation, and political solutions as a basis for preventing further military escalation in the Balkans.
It is particularly important that intensified preventive-crisis management be used by the UN to prevent the war from spreading to Kosovo.
The tragedy in Yugoslavia has thus far forced over two million people to become refugees. With this in mind, the Socialist International appeals to all European governments to uphold humanitarian traditions and show solidarity with regard to the admission of refugees. In this context, they should work out an equitable system for the admission of refugees, who should be enabled to return to their home countries as early as possible.
The dramatic developments in Yugoslavia pose the risk that violent conflict might spread to other parts of Europe and the former Soviet Union. In this context, it is particularly important to ensure the proper carrying out of the disarmament agreements and to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms.
Now that the precarious stability of the Cold War era has been replaced by a period of equally precarious instability following the demise of communism, the Socialist International calls for the development of a defensive pan-European security system to guarantee security and stability for the European nations on the basis of common principles.
The Socialist International champions the peaceful living together of all peoples of the Middle East. This requires the observance of the following principles: willingness for peaceful conflict resolution, respect for human rights, and commitment to pluralism in political, ethnic and religious questions.
The Socialist International congratulates the Israeli Labour Party and MAPAM on their historic victory in the June 23 election.
The Socialist International welcomes the new mood and impetus provided by the new Israeli government for the global peace process instituted with the Madrid initiative.
We welcome with great satisfaction the active participation and clear willingness of the Palestinians and Arab States in the endeavour to make the peace talks succeed.
The acceptance by all interested parties, including the League of Arab States and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 provides a basis for the success of the peace negotiations.
We welcome the measures taken by the Israeli government to build confidence internationally, among Arab countries, and among the Palestinians in the occupied territories, including freezing of some settlement and road-building activity, cancelling of some deportations, and release of political prisoners.
We reaffirm our opposition to settlements in the occupied territories and look forward to further confidence-building measures from all sides, since increased confidence in the peace process among Palestinians and all others is essential for the success, not simply of the negotiations, but of any agreement that might be reached.
All interim arrangements, including confidence-building measures and Palestinian autonomy, should be regarded as part of a process leading to permanent arrangements and peace.
We believe that for any agreement to have a chance of success, it must have as its basis an end to all states of war in the region, security for the state of Israel within recognised borders, and acceptance of the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to determine their own future.
A peace agreement must include, as well, an end to internal conflict and external intervention in Lebanon, where a sister party is active, and the full restoration of that country's unity and sovereignty.
In order to achieve peace in the Middle East, there is need for full support by the world community, including the European Community, which has shown how historic enmities can give way to economic and political cooperation.
A peace agreement will provide an essential opportunity for the countries of the Middle East to end the arms race, to use their resources positively and equitably for the construction of their economies, the defeat of poverty, and for cooperation to use the resources of the region for the common good.
The Socialist International, with its Israeli and Arab member parties, will - as it has in the past - continue to make an active and constructive contribution towards the elimination of tension, the establishment of peace and good-neighbourliness in the Middle East, and the assertion of the paramount importance of affirming and honouring human rights and democracy throughout the region.
The Socialist International calls for political pluralism and respect for human rights, particularly the rights of minorities throughout the region. We condemn all human rights violations by the regime of Iran. In Iraq, the plight of the Kurds and Shias suffering repression continues to be a major cause for concern. In Turkey steps to enhance the cultural rights of the Kurdish people are welcome. Further strengthening of democratic and human rights is necessary. The SI reiterates that it is against all kinds of violence, including terrorism.
The Kurdish people in Iraq recently held peaceful, free general elections for a regional assembly and a local government. This first democratic experience needs to be supported by the SI in line with the spirit of the XIX Congress. The Kurdish people's right to federative status in a democratic united Iraq must be supported for a lasting peace.
The Socialist International reiterates its longstanding commitment to the need to find a just, viable and lasting solution to the dispute in Cyprus. We note the recent efforts of the UN Secretary General in this regard. We call on the world comunity, including the European Community, to actively support a solution securing the fundamental democratic principles and the human rights of all communities, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Not even a year ago, Latin America and the Caribbean presented an optimistic political picture: nearly all military regimes and dictatorships had disappeared as a result of their inability to master the severe economic and social problems in their countries and because of popular demands for the establishment of a democratic system as the only way to promote sustainable development.
Democratisation raised expectations and offered opportunities for ensuring freedom and well-being. There was a sense that a process which could bring about lasting changes was under way. Although the political structures and the economic, social and cultural institutions of most of the countries in the region were flawed by major deficiencies and imperfections, civilian governments were determined to undertake the necessary reforms in order to harmonise the exercise of freedom with the collective need for progress and prosperity. Growing solidarity and cooperation between elected governments, and the opening for greater citizen participation in the political process, enhanced the prospects for strengthening democratic culture and consolidating democracy.
Unfortunately, old vices and new dangers now threaten to undermine the democratic process. Coups in Suriname, Haiti and Peru; institutional crises in Brazil and Venezuela; continued threats to peace in Colombia and Central America; increases in violations of human rights; the expansion of narcotic trafficking and drug-related violence; weak judicial systems and pervasive corruption; declining standards of living and the unabated spread of poverty - these are phenomena that indicate the fragility of democracy in the region.
A major obstacle to the strengthening of democracy is the continuing economic crisis. Governments must struggle to control inflation, reduce high unemployment, balance budgets, and generate economic growth. Yet they are nearly overwhelmed by the weight of foreign debts, conditions imposed by international financial agencies, falling commodity prices, and the protectionism of the industrialised nations. Moreover, radically neo-liberal adjustment programmes and privatisation policies have resulted in severe reductions in spending on education, health care, housing and other desperately needed social services.
As a result, popular expectations are not being met and too many citizens are losing faith in the political process. Political parties have experienced a marked decline in membership and influence, governmental institutions have weakened, and voter abstention has risen. This deterioration has opened the door to manipulation by anti-democratic forces and has already led to severe setbacks in some countries.
Matters have been complicated further by the global rise of a neo-conservative form of liberalism rooted in the Reagan-Thatcher era.
In view of this overall situation, the Socialist International recognises the need in Latin America and the Caribbean for redoubled efforts on the part of our members for strengthening democratic institutions and building a more viable civil society. Citizens of the region have shown they are willing to participate in the democratic process, but they must be provided with the means and the opportunity. The state must be made more responsive to the needs of the citizen in line with the aim of creating more efficent and effective government.
The Socialist International also realises the need for greater and sustained solidarity in defence of democratic systems and fundamental human rights in the region, as well as the creation of programmes to ensure economic, social, and cultural rights.
In this regard, the Socialist International calls for the full restoration of the constitutional order and respect for human rights in Haiti and Peru. It also calls for the full respect of the constitution regarding the presidential mandate in Venezuela and supports the reform process undertaken by the government. In El Salvador, the Socialist International recognises the achievements of the Peace Accord and encourages all sides to make every effort to ensure full compliance. In Guatemala, the International calls for redoubled efforts to achieve a peace agreement and greater respect for human rights. In Puerto Rico, we exhort the US government to continue efforts in favour of the right to self-determination in the context of decolonisation and sovereignty.
The continuing economic crisis, in turn, demands greater cooperation between governments of the region toward regional economic integration. There must also be more coordination in formulating a common approach to improving the terms of global trade and reducing the burden of the foreign debt, and we must ensure that international trade agreements defend the rights of workers and strengthen the protection of the environment.
Our message of freedom and social justice as the pillars of democracy must be made clear throughout the region, and the message must be strong at all levels of society.
Since our last Congress, there have been significant advances. Domination by authoritarian regimes has been rejected in many countries. Many new political parties have been formed, the press and other media have begun to have greater influence on governments, power has begun to be decentralised and civil society strengthened. Elections have been held recently in Cape Verde, Zambia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Seychelles, Burkina Faso and Congo. Multi-party elections are scheduled in Angola, Lesotho, Ghana and Togo. The process of electoral planning is also under way in Mozambique, Cameroon, Kenya and Zaire. Moreover, following free and fair elections Namibia is now an independent, democratic nation.
Progress, however, has been uneven. The SI condemned the unconstitutional manner in which the final stage of the Algerian elections was indefinitely postponed. It is urgent that the democratic process can resume, otherwise the influence of Islamic extremists will continue to grow. In countries such as Malawi opposition parties remain banned and human rights violations continue. Serious threats to the emerging African democracies remain - from the military, ethnic conflict, secessionism, poverty and the growth of religious and other forms of fundamentalism. The SI expresses a special concern with the situation in Togo, where the security of persons has to be ensured and the democratic agenda respected.
In South Africa the SI welcomes the resumption of talks between Nelson Mandela and President De Klerk. We call on the South African government to take action to prevent a repetition of the events at Boipatong and in Ciskei. We also call on the South African government to ensure that the process of democratisation encompasses all the homelands. The SI believes that for the CODESA negotiations to succeed, the South African government must convince the people of South Africa of its genuine commitment to impartial policing and law and order enforcement, effective action to end violence and swift transition to democratic and non-racial rule. We believe that our friends, the ANC, have shown great patience and courage by their conduct in a very volatile situation.
The SI also calls on the international community to impose maximum pressure on South Africa to ensure that the South African government understands that, if it fails to take the necessary action to demonstrate the required good faith, those economic and other sanctions which have been lifted may have to be re-imposed.
The current crisis in the Horn of Africa is unparalleled in the region's history.
In Somalia the continuing conflict has resulted in countless deaths, thousands of civilians injured, hundreds of thousands displaced, and the prospect of an entire generation of young people starving to death.
The SI believes that a comprehensive response from the international community is urgently needed. We call on the United Nations and the international community to respond generously to the immediate needs for food, shelter and seeds, as well as the longer-term needs for rebuilding society. The SI demands that all parties to the conflict in Somalia agree to an immediate ceasefire. International (if necessary, military) guarantees for the safe transport and distribution of food, medical and other aid as a prerequisite for effective international assistance, and the political will for peaceful conflict resolution are also required. The SI believes that the possibility of convening a conference of reconciliation between the parties involved in the conflict in Somalia must be fully explored as soon as possible.
In Liberia, Sudan, Ethiopia and elsewhere war and civil strife continue to undermine development efforts. Declining prices for the continent's main exports and a large debt burden pose further obstacles. Many governments have cut public spending in their efforts to repay debts, and this has seriously undermined infrastructure, health, education and services crucial for development.
Plans to stabilise and improve the prices of primary products are urgently required. These must be complemented by full implementation of the original Trinidad terms and additional measures to significantly reduce or cancel foreign debts. Ways of improving the effectiveness of aid and supporting the work of non-governmental organisations must be explored.
The SI believes that African governments have a critical role to play in the development process - by following sound policies for economic management, fostering the growth of mixed economies, instituting democratic accountability, respecting human rights, devoting increased resources and attention to tackling poverty - and in particular by paying special attention to the needs of women, youth and children, and encouraging initiatives for regional political, economic and social cooperation.
Throughout much of Southern and Eastern Africa hopes of accelerating economic growth have been dashed by the widespread drought which has killed tens of thousands and destroyed the livelihoods of millions more. The SI notes with great concern that widespread poverty has led to a rapid increase of prostitution among adolescents of both sexes and among women. Over 40 million people in 16 countries currently face famine and the effects of drought are undermining already difficult economic and political reform efforts. The SI calls on all donors to honour their pledges to UN emergency appeals for the region, and for urgent social programmes in support of households headed by women and of children orphaned through the rapid spread of Aids.
The SI welcomes the United Nations Peace Plan for Western Sahara. We are however concerned about the delay in implementing the referendum. We urge the Secretary General of the UN to redouble his efforts for the full and rapid implementation of the UN Peace Plan. We appeal to the Moroccans and the Polisario Front to fully respect the ceasefire agreement, and actively support the efforts of the United Nations. The SI reiterates its support for the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
The task in Africa is to establish effective multi-party structures, regular and transparent elections, freedom from persecution and violence, genuine freedom of the press and real power for grassroots organisations.
The SI has a longstanding involvement in the struggle against apartheid, dictatorship, economic oppression, injustice and hunger. Our commitment to Africa was further strengthened at our historic meeting in Senegal in May 1992. The shared social democratic vision among many long-established and new political forces in Africa, and the significant role of social democracy in securing freedom, human rights, democratic change, economic progress, and the full and equal participation of women in the shaping of democratic processes must be strengthened. We call on all SI member parties to strengthen their efforts to achieve these aims.
The importance of the Asia-Pacific region in the global economy has never been greater. Economic growth rates have been amongst the highest in the world and trade has boomed. Yet this growth has not been equitably distributed among the countries of the region, much less within their respective societies.
Along with such economic development the Asia-Pacific region is entering a new era of post-Cold War détente and regional cooperation. Recent normalisation of relations between South Korea and China is a clear illustration of such a trend.
The regional outlook, however, is clouded by widespread abuses of political and human rights. Despite the end of the Cold War and the closing of many foreign military bases in the area, there is a growing distrust among governments, compounded by the risk of a regional arms race.
On the positive side we hail the emergence of multi-party democracy in Nepal, but in many other countries the news is of continuing assaults on democracy.
In China, the world's most populous country, those who were responsible for the killings in Tiananmen Square have neither stepped down nor shown remorse for their action, and the government continues to deny basic political rights and civil liberties.
Nevertheless, continuous efforts should be made by the countries of the region to urge C