Vienna, 5 January 1998
Within the framework of its activities in the field of civilizational dialogue, the I.P.O. will organize an international roundtable on the topic "Civilizations: Conflict or Dialogue?" in co-operation with the Departments of Philosophy and of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck/Austria (8 June 1998). Experts from Austria, Germany, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and the United States will participate. The research papers presented at the meeting will be published as n. 24 of the series Studies in International Relations. Those interested to participate should contact the head office of the I.P.O.
The I.P.O. participated in the inaugural session of the Centre for Civilizational Dialogue at the University of Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia (15 September 1997). The President of the I.P.O., Prof. Hans Koechler, has been appointed as member of the International Advisory Panel of the Centre. The Panel held its first working session in Kuala Lumpur on 16 September 1997. Among the members of the Panel are Prof. Ali A. Mazrui (University of New York), Prof. Tu Wei-ming (Harvard University), and the Venerable Maha Ghosananda (Supreme Patriarch of the Cambodian Buddhist community).
NGO COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT
The NGO Committee held the following meetings at the United Nations Office in Vienna:
Roundtable on "The Impact of Globalization on Economic and Social Development" (13 February 1997). Dr. Hans-Peter Martin, co-author of the international bestseller "The Global Trap," was the key speaker at the meeting (coordinator: Dr. Leo Gabriel).
Seminar on "The Right to Development" (4-5 June 1997). Among the speakers were the Permanent UN Representatives of the Netherlands (for the European group), Brazil and India (coordinator: Mr. Romesh Chandra).
Seminar on "Economic and Social Development in Africa" (17 November 1997). The meeting was addressed, among others, by the Permanent UN Representatives of Tunisia and Sudan, by experts from UNIDO and from Médecins sans frontières (coordinator: Mr. Romesh Chandra).
NEW MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Dr. Rajab Boudabbous, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Green Academy (Tripoli, Libyan Jamahiriya), and Dr. Themba Sono (Professor at the University of South Africa) have been elected as Vice-Presidents of the I.P.O. for a four year term starting in 1998.
In January 1997 Dr. Gudrun Grabher (Ms.), Permanent Representative of the I.P.O. to the United Nations Office at Vienna, was awarded with the Golden Medal of Honour of the Republic of Austria.
Dr. Musa Keilani has been appointed as Permanent Representative to the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Amman (as from 1 January 1998).
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBERS
The Executive Board has admitted new members from Austria, Libya and Nigeria.
INITIATIVES RELATED TO THE UNITED NATIONS
In 1997, the I.P.O. followed up on its earlier initiatives on the reform and democratization of the United Nations system. On 5 April 1997 the President of the I.P.O. submitted a Memorandum on the reform proposals presented by the President of the General Assembly.
On 14 November 1997 the I.P.O. submitted a five point Memorandum on the UN sanctions monitoring régime in Iraq to the President of the Security Council.
On 28 November 1997 the I.P.O. endorsed the Declaration on the Banning of Weapons of Mass Destruction proposed by Mr. Elias Davidsson (Iceland) and joined the international NGO initiative for the formation of a "People’s Security Council."
UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The I.P.O. participated in the fifty-third regular session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in March 1997. The delegation consisted of Mr. E. A. Vidyasekhar, Ms. Sheena Joice and Ms. Nazima Munshi. The President of the I.P.O. presented the report of the organization’s observer mission on the human rights situation in Pakistan (21 March 1997). The I.P.O. also participated in the forty-ninth session of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (Geneva, 4-29 August 1997). The delegation consisted of Dr. S. K. Sahni and Mr. E. A. Vidyasekhar.
The I.P.O. joined other international NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and JUST in an appeal for the release of Irish human rights activist Ms. Roisin McAliskey. On 24 April 1997 the President of the I.P.O. sent a message to German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel on behalf of Ms. McAliskey. The I.P.O. also launched an international appeal for the release of Mr. Rongthong Kuenley Dorji, Chairman of the United Front for Democracy (UDF) in Bhutan.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE
As follow-up of the earlier work of I.P.O.’s International Committee for Palestinian Human Rights, the I.P.O. issued a statement of principles on a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question (25 March 1997). The statement was published in the Jordan Times and other international media. On 6 November 1997 the I.P.O. joined international law experts in an appeal to the UN General Assembly for the admission of the State of Palestine to full participation in membership throughout the entire United Nations Organization. I.P.O.’s views on the situation in Palestine and Jerusalem have been published earlier in a special interview with President Koechler in "Al-Quds Al-Arabi" (12 February 1997). From 12 to 15 December 1997 the President of the I.P.O. went on a fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip where he visited two refugee camps and met with Palestinian officials and with representatives of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
ELECTORAL OBSERVER MISSION TO PAKISTAN
From 1 to 5 February 1997 a delegation of the I.P.O. headed by its President visited Karachi/Pakistan in order to observe the Pakistani National Assembly elections. Among the members of the delegation was Dr. Türkkaya Ataöv, Professor of International Relations at the University of Ankara (Turkey). The delegation visited numerous polling stations and two hospitals in the greater Karachi area. The I.P.O. delegation issued a detailed report on its findings which was published in the Pakistani media. The report was also submitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights. A special appeal was sent to President Faruq Ahmed Khan Leghari of Pakistan.
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
Among numerous other meetings, the I.P.O. participated in the following international events:
International Symposion on Direct Democracy organized by the Green Academy (Tripoli, 1 March 1997).
Asian Regional Conference on Globalization and its Impact on Religions and Cultures organized by the International Movement for a Just World (Kuala Lumpur, 3-6 July 1997). The Acting Prime Minister of Malaysia, H.E. Anwar Ibrahim, delivered the opening address. The President of the I.P.O. chaired one of the workshops of the conference.
Third International Seminar on Civilizational Dialogue organized by the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur (15-17 September 1997). The President of the I.P.O. presented a paper on the "Philosophical Foundations of Civilizational Dialogue."
International Symposion on North-South Mediterranean Co-operation organized by the Jamahir Centre for International Studies and by the Mediterranean Studies Centre (Baghdad, 28-30 October 1997). The President of the I.P.O. presented a paper on "U.S.-European Relations after the End of the East-West Conflict: Implications for Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation."
International Conference on Human Rights and Final Status Issues organized by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Gaza City/Palestine, 12-15 December 1997). The conference was opened by H.E. Salim Al Za’noun, Speaker of the Palestinian National Council. Among the key speakers was Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (Ms.), Minister of Education in the Palestinian National Authority. The President of the I.P.O. presented a paper on "The Palestinian People’s Right to Self-determination: Basis for Peace in the Middle East."
COOPERATION WITH NGOs
The I.P.O. has decided to cooperate closely with the newly established International Movement for a Just World (JUST) based in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The President of the I.P.O. has been appointed as Convenor for Central Europe. He participated in a working session of JUST conveners on 7 July 1997. Intensified cooperation was agreed upon with the International Institute for Non-aligned Studies (New Delhi). A meeting was held with the Institute’s Director, Dr. G. N. Srivastava, on 21 March 1997.
CONSULTATION MEETINGS OF THE PRESIDENT
On 16 January 1997, the President of the I.P.O. received in I.P.O.’s head office in Vienna Mr. Alain Manville and Mr. Raphael Constant, lawyers from the French Overseas Département of Martinique, for a briefing on the human rights condition on the French island of Saint-Martin (Caribbean). On 24 January 1997 Dr. Koechler met with the exiled Leader of the Mohajir Qawmi Movement of Pakistan, Mr. Altaf Husain, in London. He was accompanied by Prof. Mohamed Arif, Secretary of the British Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization. On 5 February 1997 Dr. Koechler met in Karachi/Pakistan with Senator Aftab Sheikh in order to discuss the situation of the Mohajir people in Pakistan’s Sindh Province. He also met with Ms. Khanum Gauhar Aijaz, former Minister of Social Affairs of the Regional Government of Sindh. On 30 October 1997 Dr. Koechler met in Baghdad with the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly of Iraq, Mr. Saad Qasem Hammoudi, to discuss the situation related to the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the Security Council. On 19 November 1997 the President of the I.P.O. received former Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella at the head office of the I.P.O. in Vienna.