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SANTO DOMINGO COUNCIL - Working for a more secure and fairer world

26-27 November 2001



The terrorist attacks of 11 September were an assault on the entire democratic world community. The Socialist International strongly condemned those despicable acts against innocent people and expressed its full solidarity with all women and men in grief in the United States and around the world as a result of these crimes. In standing together with the victims and their families and all those affected, we once more reiterated our abhorrence of terrorism.

Two and a half months after 11 September the Socialist International believes that the response of the international community, of the great majority of the countries, irrespective of their culture, has been positive for the future of the world. The worst fears have been overcome. Politics, dialogue and cooperation have triumphed over the worst emotions.

Since the day of the attacks, the International has reaffirmed that no effort should be spared by the international community to bring to justice all those responsible for these atrocities and rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. The building of a broad international coalition to respond decisively against terrorism has been the shared objective of SI member parties throughout the world, in line with the UN Security Council which, following the attacks, reaffirmed the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence and the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The lead role of the Security Council in building and strengthening a common front against what is now the principal security concern of the new millennium remains critical. The struggle against terrorism requires a multi-dimensional approach which includes not only military actions but also international initiatives to suppress terrorist financing, to coordinate and share intelligence about perpetrators and their backers, and to bring those suspected of involvement in the crime of terrorism to justice in accordance with international standards for a fair trial.

Attached to the respect of human rights values, the SI condemns all attempts by dictatorships to use the tragedy of 11 September and the fight against international terrorism to restrict democratic freedoms and rights even more.

Also of great importance are UN-coordinated humanitarian endeavours to provide relief for the war-weary people of Afghanistan, as well as UN political and diplomatic initiatives that can help ensure that their hopes, and the hopes of people in neighbouring countries, for peace, democracy and respect for human rights are realised.

In Afghanistan the establishment of a broad-based government that includes all sectors of Afghan society is vital to the development of democracy and the rebuilding of the country following two decades of war, nearly a half-decade of drought, and severe repression, particularly of the rights of women and children. A new government must give priority to guaranteeing the full participation of women in the political and social life of the country. Crucial to reconstruction and peace is the timely delivery and distribution by the international community of sufficient food aid to sustain the Afghan population through the harsh winter months, and to implement a special programme for the economic and social rebuilding of the country.

Our position is clear. There is no excuse whatsoever to justify the serious terrorist crimes perpetrated on 11 September. These tragic and horrible events underlined that it is not possible to leave to one side crises with roots in particular regions, because political, economic, financial and now, certainly, security threats are clearly global in nature, with one type of crisis often compounding another, as was the case when the terrorist attacks dealt a heavy blow to the world economy, which only makes conditions all the more difficult for the poorest people struggling to improve their lives.

Hopelessness and despair in many regions of the world can create a fertile ground for extremism and violence. We urge, therefore, that as much effort be put into the fight against poverty and injustice as has been exerted in the fight against terrorism.

The parties of the Socialist International commit themselves to carrying out an agenda for a new world order, which would include the following initiatives:

    Strengthening the role of international institutions because it is increasingly urgent to give to the United Nations and other international organisations such as the WTO, WHO and the ILO, the capability, mandate and resources to enable them to face the challenges of this global era, and also to encourage ratification of the International Criminal Court.

    The holding of an international conference to promote dialogue and rapprochement between the different cultures of the world.

    To work to deepen our social democratic values in every region in the world, confident that they are the best response to today’s uncertainties and the best way to fulfil the hopes of people everywhere.

The various aspects of the struggle against terrorism therefore go together with the continuing work of the Socialist International for the resolution of all regional conflicts, especially in the Middle East, and poverty alleviation. This means promoting peace wherever in the world violence has broken out, struggling for human rights wherever they are denied, democracy wherever it is missing, and social justice everywhere, all for a more secure and fairer world.