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Alternatives News

International Centre has a New President

Veteran parliamentarian Mr. Warren Allmand has been nominated as the new President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. He replaces Mr. Ed Broadbent. The Centre will gain a lot from Mr. Allmand"s progressive ideas and politics. We welcome the appointment.

Advisory Board

Currently, CERAS project priorities are decided by its membership in Montreal and they are based on their vision and experience. However, we believe that social and political activists and intellectuals living and working in South Asia have a more accurate understanding of the democratic needs of the people in South Asian countries as well as of the workings of different groups and individuals with whom we have working relations. In view of this, we have taken steps to establish a CERAS Advisory Board of activists living in South Asia. The role of the Board will be mainly to advise the CERAS members and activists in Montreal on the issues which should be taken up by us in both our educational and overseas work. Out of the 11 people approached to be on the Board the following have so far accepted:

Ms. Sultana Kamal

Dr. Pradip Bose
Ms. Anita Rampal
Mr. M.T. Khan

Ms. Asma Jahangir

Sri Lanka:
Mr. Ajith Rupasinghe
Ms. Darini Rajasingham

Peace Initiative

Several South Asian human rights activists had gone to Strasbourg in December 1995 to attend a seminar organised by the European Human Rights Commission and the Council of Europe on "Human Rights Community and Conflict resolution in South Asia - Applicability of European examples".

After the seminar on December 16, 1995, some of the South Asian delegates decided to form an Initiative for South Asia Peace Charter. The objectives of Initiative were:

  1. promotion of a South Asian perspective through interaction of researchers, activists, opinion makers and concerned persons from the region,

  2. establishing a network of researchers working in the area of human rights and security concern with a view to develop a South Asian Peoples' security perspective,

  3. Initiating a consultation leading to the formantion of various functional groups to intervene and impress upon the governments of the region for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The core group of the Initiative on South Asia Peace Charter has met thrice. At the last meeting held on December 5, 1996, it was decided to hold a 3 day consultation in Colombo. The Colombo Consultation will focus on the on going conflict in Sri Lanka and try to develop a programme for intervention by South Asian Human Rights community in the interest of peace. The consultations will be held on April 23-25, 1997.

It was suggested the Initiative may take up the following issues/activities:

  1. Review of autonomy provisions in the constitutions of the South Asian countries. The politics of "majoritism" and the condition of the minorities.

  2. Effects of conflicts on people, particularly women and children.

  3. Subversion of the judicial process and judicial activism.

  4. Militarisation, national security perspective of the states and the national security laws of the South Asian Countries. E. The burden of ever increasing defence expenditure - the impact on the economy and the political stability of the region.

CERAS is sending its President Daya Varma and Alternatives is sending its President Elizabeth Morey to these important consultations.

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