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Photo: Dss/Lars Jakobsen.Photo: Dss/Lars Jakobsen

Ambassador Angell-Hansen spoke at celebration of the International Peace Bureau

Last updated: 08.06.2010 // Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen spoke at the event "Making Peace" organised by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) in Geneva on June 6th.

The event celebrated the 100th anniversary for the Nobel Peace Prize to the IPB. Other speakers included president of IPB Tomas Magnusson and ambassador Dante Martinelli of Switzerland.Statement by the ambassador of Norway, Ms Bente Angell-Hansen at event of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva 6 June 2010.

Greetings to distinguished participants and guests

On this day I pay tribute to the relentless efforts of civil society to promote peace and disarmament. The impressive exhibition is a testimony to this.  

I thank the International Peace Bureau for inviting me to speak at this important Making Peace event.

The International Peace Bureau is the world oldest international federation for peace, dedicated to the vision of a World Without War. Founded in 1891 it received the Noble Peace Prize in 1910. We are celebrating this historic event today. I congratulate the Bureau for its continued efforts to promote the noble cause of Peace.

It is a sad reality that in all too many parts of the world the lives of people are ruined by unrest, armed violence and outright war.

Already during the first years after the foundation of the International Bureau for Peace, Norway was one of the four countries supporting it financially – together with Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. At that time, Norway’s past experience of war, our struggle for independence and the peaceful separation from Sweden all contributed to a profound understanding of the imperative of peace.

The IPB has an impressive record when it comes to promoting peace. 13 men and women from the Bureau from 11 different countries have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This demonstrates the IPB as a true breeding ground for peacemakers.

In 1905 Bertha von Suttner, a co-founder of the Bureau was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her strong words “down with arms” became an inspiration to women peacemakers all over the world. She convinced her contemporaries that both women and men have a duty to join in the struggle for peace.

Disarmament is at the core when it comes to realizing the vision of a world without war. Recent progress in this area gives hope. Yet the danger stemming from the mere existence of weapons of mass destruction, let alone their proliferation, is real. We must do better and we must act urgently. Disarmament is much more than a security issue, it is a humanitarian and developmental imperative.

But how do we make peace? There is, unfortunately, no magic recipe. But there are some key components.

We need to be better at prevention. We need to address in a timely manner factors that trigger armed conflicts and the underlying causes such as land rights, natural resources, and discrimination based on color, ethnicity and creed. We see that poor countries tend to be more vulnerable to armed conflicts. Social and economic development contributes to peace and security, underlining the importance that we all deliver on the Millennium Development Goals.

In the aftermath of war and armed conflict, systems of transitional justice are essential. Impunity is in itself a source of renewed conflict.

Women must be given their rightful role in promoting and building peace. In the past years, Liberia and Rwanda are excellent examples to this effect. We need to empower women and do away with discriminatory laws and practices.

Norway will remain deeply committed to disarmament, conflict prevention and peace facilitation. Still it must and will always be the parties to a conflict who own the successes and the failures. In the words of the former UN Secretary General: “National ownership is the core principle of peace-building, and the restoration of national capacity to build peace must therefore be at the heart of our international efforts”.

The UN report from March 2000 entitled “We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century”, demonstrated, by way of a census, that what is the most important to all the peoples of the world is to live in peace. Thus, it documents the global consensus of the peoples of the world as to the imperative of peace.

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Ultimately peace begins in the mind of man – be it woman or man. We all have a responsibility as to how we live our lives, how we educate our children, how we take part in shaping our societies in a way whereby we respect others and how we defend and promote the humanitarian and human rights principles. People like us, to whom have been given much, have the enhanced duty to foster a culture of peace and understanding to the betterment of the peoples of the world.

I thank you all.  

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