I.P.O. ANNUAL REPORT 2007
Vienna, 31 December 2007/P/RE/20810c
INTERNATIONAL ROUNDTABLE CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM
From 13 to 14 December 2007 the International Progress Organization organized an international roundtable conference on "The 'Global War on Terror' and its Impact on Muslim-Western Relations." Experts from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey discussed the notion of the so-called “global war on terror” in terms of legal theory, political science, international law, and cultural studies.
The meeting was held at Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia Science University, USM) in Penang. It was hosted by the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) at the USM. The meeting was opened by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak. The sessions were alternately chaired by the International Progress Organization (Vienna) and the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) (Kuala Lumpur). The Director-General of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), Dato' Hussin Nayan, the Chairman of the Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN), Dato' (Dr.) Anwar Fazal, and faculty members of the Malaysia Science University participated as observers.
The meeting at Universiti Sains Malaysia was a follow-up to earlier research projects and conferences of the International Progress Organization, in particular the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism held in Geneva (Switzerland) in March 1987; The Baku Declaration on Global Dialogue and Peaceful Co-existence among Nations and Threats Posed by International Terrorism, issued on 9 November 2001 in Baku (Azerbaijan); and the Centenary Lecture delivered by the President of the I.P.O. in March 2002 on The United Nations, the International Rule of Law and Terrorism at the Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting were: the precise legal definition of the term "terrorism;" the semantic consistency of the notion of a "global war on terror;" the cycle of violence triggered by large-scale military operations in the Middle East, in particular Afghanistan and Iraq; the impact of the unresolved question of Palestine and Jerusalem on the ongoing conflicts; the increasing alienation between the Muslim world and the West resulting from those military operations; the unilateral nature of the "global war on terror" in terms of international law; and the role of the United Nations Organization in confronting challenges to the system of collective security resulting from the "global war on terror."
The papers presented at the roundtable meeting will be published by the International Progress Organization as Vol. XXX of the series Studies in International Relations.
LECTURE MEETINGS ON RELIGION AND VIOLENCE
From 16 to 26 January 2007 the International Progress Organization sponsored a series of lecture and consultation meetings in Malaysia and Singapore on the topic "Religion and Violence."
The events were jointly organized by the International Progress Organization (Austria), the International Movement for a Just World/JUST (Malaysia), the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), and the University Scholars Programme of the National University of Singapore. The President of the I.P.O. gave lectures, followed by public debates, at the headquarters of the International Movement for a Just World (Petaling Jaya), the International Islamic University Malaysia (Gombak), the National University of Malaysia (Bangi), the Malaysia Science University (Penang), and the National University of Singapore. He also delivered a paper on "Christian-Muslim Relations in the Age of Global Unipolarity: Belief in One God versus Political Double Standards" at the Campus Ministry of the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
A special forum was jointly organized by the I.P.O. and JUST on "Religion and Violence: Aspects of the Conflict Situation in the Philippines" which was addressed by Dr. Abdulhusin M. Kashim, Secretary-General of the Philippine Muslim Solidarity Council, Mindanao, Philippines. An additional lecture forum was held at the Science University of Malaysia with the Malaysian author and rights activist Dr. Kassim Ahmad.
Briefings and consultations also took place with the leadership of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), the Hindu Sangam in Kuala Lumpur, the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields/KL, and the Third World Network in Penang. The President of the I.P.O. was accompanied by a group of postgraduate students from Austria, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, and the United States.
As part of the program of the information visit, the President of the I.P.O. held consultations with the President of JUST, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar; the President of Citizens International (Penang), Mr. Mohammed Idris; the Director of the Centre for International Studies at the Malaysia Science University (Penang), Prof. Syed Ahmad Hussein; the President of the Hindu Sangam Malaysia, Datuk A. Vaithilingam; the Venerable K. Dhammaratana Thera, Chief Monk at the Buddhist Maha Vihara and Chief Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia and Singapore; the President of the Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia, Eng. Ang Choo Hong; the Secretary-General of the Third World Network, Mr. T. Rajamoorthy (Penang); and the Secretary-General of the Philippine Muslim Solidarity Council, Dr. Abdulhusin M. Kashim (Mindanao, Philippines).
The program was concluded with a Forum jointly organized with the Religion Research Cluster of the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Innsbruck (Austria) on "Religion and Violence: The Examples of Christianity and Islam" in Singapore.
In the course of 2007, the International Progress Organization continued its participation in the global discourse on the dialogue among civilizations as basis of peaceful co-existence among peoples and states. Among the international meetings the I.P.O. co-organized or participated in are: - the Seminar on "Multiculturalism and International Law" organized by the Silk Road Institute of International Law at Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, China (13- 14 April 2007); - the Second International Forum "Globalization and Dialogue between Civilizations" in Tbilisi, Georgia (24-25 May 2007); - the seminar on "The Role of Community and Faith Leaders towards Promoting the Culture of Durable and Lasting Peace," organized by Jamiah Singapore in Singapore (21-22 June 200);- the International Conference "Dialogue of Civilizations: The Role of Political Parties," organized by the New Azerbaijan Party in Baku, Azerbaijan (27 September 2007); - the Fifth Annual Meeting of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" in Rhodes, Greece (11-13 October 200); - the "Alliance Youth Camp" of the Youth for the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative in Baku, Azerbaijan (28-31 October 2007).
UNITED NATIONS REFORM
The I.P.O. participated in the international conference on "Reforming the United Nations- Democracy, Justice and Security in the Age of Globalization," organized by Centro Studi sul Federalismo / Center for the Study of Federalism in Turin, Italy, on 8 June 2007.The President of the I.P.O. presented a working paper on Security Council reform as a requirement of international democracy and gave an interview to the magazine Federalist Debate on the fundamental issues of United Nations reform.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE
On 14 February 2007, the President of the International Progress Organization issued a statement on "European Union: double standards in criminal justice? - The European-Libyan controversy over of the handling of the case of Pan Am flight 103 by the Scottish and the Benghazi HIV case by the Libyan judiciary: Clash between legal cultures or political power game?" The statement dealt with the case of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya. News reports were published in the Bulgarian media.
FOLLOW-UP TO THE LOCKERBIE OBSERVER MISSION
On 28 June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred the case of Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi back to the appeal court. Similar to Dr. Koechler's conclusion reached in his trial and appeal reports of 2001 and 2002, the SCCRC suspected a miscarriage of justice. In his capacity as international observer of the I.P.O. at the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands (2000-2002), Dr. Hans Koechler issued, on 29 June 2007, a statement on the referral of Mr. Al-Megrahi's case and, on 4 July 2007, renewed his call for an independent investigation of the case.
In connection with the review decision of the Scottish judiciary, Dr. Koechler gave interviews, inter alia, to the BBC, Deutsche Welle / German Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In December 2007, a group of 78 British citizens submitted a petition to the British Prime Minister asking him "to support calls for a United Nations Inquiry into the death of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing" and stating that the United Kingdom and the United Nations Security Council members - including Britain - "should support such an Inquiry and nominate Dr Koechler to conduct it."
SPECIAL LECTURES BY THE PRESIDENT
"Religion and Violence - Introductory Statement": International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 17 January 2007.
"The 'Global War on Terror' and its Implications for Muslim-Western Relations": Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia / National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, 19 January 2007.
"Religion and Violence: Philosophical Reflections on the Challenges Faced by the Christian Faith": National University of Singapore (NUS) in co-operation with the Dept. of Philosophy of the University of Innsbruck, Singapore, 25 January 2007.
"Orient und Okzident: Dialog oder Krieg?": Marokkanischer Verein in deutschsprachigen Ländern / Moroccan Society in German-speaking Countries, Feldkirch, Austria, 10 May 2007.
"Civilizational Dialogue versus Civilizational Coercion: The Risks of Unilateralism and the Virtues of Co-existence": Second International Forum "Globalization and Dialogue between Civilizations," Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, 24 May 2007.
"Security Council Reform: A Requirement of International Democracy": Conference on "Reforming the United Nations - Democracy, Justice and Security in the Age of Globalization," organized by Centro Studi sul Federalismo / Center for the Study of Federalism at the Turin Academy of Sciences, Turin, Italy, 8 June 2007.
"Philosophical Foundation for a Culture of Peace: An Insight for Community & Faith Leaders": Seminar on "The Role of Community and Faith Leaders towards Promoting the Culture of Durable and Lasting Peace," organized by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in co-operation with Jamiyah Singapore, Singapore, 22 June 2007.
"The International Use of Force and the Phenomenon of Terrorism: Symptoms and Causes of Violence in Today's Global Order": Keynote Speech, Second Plenary, "Youth for the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative - Alliance Youth Camp," organized by the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC) and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Baku, Azerbaijan, 29 October 2007.
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
From 24 to 25 May 2007 the I.P.O. participated in the Second International Forum on "Globalization and Dialogue between Civilizations," held in Tbilisi, Georgia, and organized by the Dialogue Eurasia Platform and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
From 21 to 22 June 2007 the I.P.O. participated in the International Seminar on "The Role of Community and Faith Leaders towards Promoting the Culture of Durable and Lasting Peace," organized in Singapore by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in co-operation with Jamiyah Singapore.
From 18 to 19 August 2007 the I.P.O. participated in Kyrene, Cyprus, the session of the International Advisory Board of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Co-operation.
On 27 September 2007 the I.P.O. participated in the International Conference "Dialogue of Civilizations: The Role of Political Parties," organized in Baku, Azerbaijan, by the New Azerbaijan Party.
From 11 to 13 October 2007 the I.P.O. participated in the 5th Annual Session of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" in Rhodes, Greece.
INFORMATION VISITS BY THE PRESIDENT
framework of the I.P.O.'s activities, Prof. Hans Koechler undertook
information visits to Malaysia (15-24 January 2007), Libya (28
February-4 March 2007), People's Republic of China
(12-16 April 2007), Armenia (30 May-1 June 2007), Brazil (30 July-4 August
2007), Northern Cyprus (16-21 August 2007), Azerbaijan (25-29 September 2007).
SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE PRESIDENT
23 January 2007: Meeting in Penang, Malaysia, with the President of Citizens International, Mr. Mhd. Idris.
26 January 2007: Meeting in Singapore with the Editor of the Singapore Journal of International Law, Prof. C. L. Lim.
31 May 2007: Meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, with the former Prime Minister and President of the Russian-Armenian State University, Dr. Armen R. Darbinian.
8 June 2007: Meeting in Turin, Italy, with the President of the Centre for Studies on Federalism (CSF), Prof. Lucio Levi.
22 June 2007: Meeting in Singapore with Mr. Bertrand Fort, Deputy Director-General of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
23 June 2007: Attendance, as guest of honour, of the ceremony of the Exemplary Mother Award 2007 in Singapore.
20 August 2007: Meeting in Lefkoşe, Cyprus, with Prof. Turgay Avcı, in charge of foreign relations of the Turkish administration of Northern Cyprus.
27 September 2007: Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, with H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
13 October 2007: Meeting in Rhodes, Greece, with the Co-President of the World Public Forum for the Dialogue of Civilizations, Mr. Vladimir Yakunin.
14 December 2007: Participation in Penang, Malaysia, in a working session of the International Advisory Board of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and meeting with its President, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar.
CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER NGOs
The International Progress Organization entered into co-operation with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia, for the co-sponsoring of an annual international youth camp in Malaysia.
Informal co-operation was agreed between the International Progress Organization and Jamiyah Singapore on issues of inter-religious dialogue.
The President of the I.P.O. concluded an informal agreement with the Dept. of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore, Prof. Syed Farid Alatas, on the organization of international research seminars in fields of mutual interest.
Mr. David Armstrong (University
of Redlands, California, USA) and Ms. Anne Groelz (Buena Vista University, Iowa, USA)
served as interns at the head office of the I.P.O. in Vienna.